20 February 2017
However, some companies catering to mainland Chinese visitors complain about a decline in business. But the overall effect on the Taiwanese economy is limited, says Ian Rowen, a cultural geographer studying Chinese tourism in Taiwan. Whether it’s hotels, buses, restaurants or souvenir shops – the business with mainland tour groups, many in the industry suggest, is controlled by companies financed by investors from China or Hong Kong, Rowen added. “If so, many of the profits are being transferred abroad anyway.”
Rowen, who accompanied Chinese tourists on bus tours as part of his research, thinks the strict visiting schedules make it almost impossible for Chinese tourists to meet people from Taiwan. But when mainland tourists face Falun Gong members in front of “Taipei 101,” or when they meet rallying Taiwanese independence supporters once in a while, Rowen explains, they have the rare opportunity to instantly experience the differences in politics and society of the two systems.