TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- As some sectors of the tourism industry have been hit by declining Chinese tourists numbers since the election of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), vendors at Taoyuan’s Cihu Mausoleum (慈湖陵寢)—the Chiang Kai-shek Mausoleum—have complained that their business has suffered significantly despite official statistics showing that visitor arrivals increased 2.4 percent year-on-year (YoY) in 2016.
According to Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau statistics, Cihu Mausoleum suffered a 31 percent YoY drop in visitor numbers in 2016, while Kenting saw a 27 percent YoY decline. Yehliu Geopark, Alishan National Scenic Area and Sun Moon Lake saw smaller declines in the number of visitors during the year.
In January, the number of visitors to Cihu declined more than 51 percent YoY to 118,614. Visitors to Yehliu Geopark declined 13.65 percent YoY in the month, but visitors to Yehliu Ocean World increased more than 61 percent. Meanwhile, nearby Baishawan and Sanzhi saw increases of over 175 percent YoY in January.
Overall, data on visitor arrivals to scenic spots around Taiwan in January show that more well-known destinations experienced declines while other sites that typically see fewer visitors saw increases. The only major tourist destination to see an increase in the month was Taroko National Park.
Statistics for February—the most recent data published by the Tourism Bureau—show that the number of visitors declined 14.42 percent YoY with less than half the total number of Chinese tourists from the previous year. The total number of tourists in the month reached 787,511, down from 920,155 the previous year. The number of tourists from nearly all other nations increased YoY in February.
Cihu Mausoleum was a more popular stop on tours for Chinese visitors.
Meanwhile, destinations such as Alishan and Yehliu are more popular with the growing numbers of Japanese and Korean tourists. However, a Tourism Bureau representative told China Times that from March 20, 2015 to March 20, 2016, almost 1.65 million people visited Alishan, but from March 20, 2016 to March 19, 2017, less than 907,000 people visited. During the period, the admission fee to Alishan also increased from NT$200 to NT$300.
A tea vendor at Alishan claimed that before Tsai took office, the park saw 100-200 tour buses each day, but now they only see about 10. However, while most Chinese tourists were on organized tours in Taiwan, fewer visitors from Japan, Korea and other nations take part in such group tours.
Tourism Bureau statistics show that in January, the number of visitors to Taiwan’s national parks declined YoY, but visitors to national scenic areas increased more than 40 percent.