Chinese authorities announced on Wednesday their plan to stop releasing individual Taiwan tourism permits. The new travel ban is seen as a new tactic to put pressure on the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Speaking to media on Thursday, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) warned that Taiwan people will feel annoyed by China’s plan of using tourists as a political tool. “Tourism shall not be politicized. Politicized tourism won’t be stable either,” she said.
Tsai remarked that China restricted people from traveling to Taiwan for political purposes in the past. She told the administrative departments to be fully prepared during a speech at the presidential office.
Tsai added that the government has striven to expand international tourism in recent years. The total number of tourists has, in fact, increased and reached a record high of 11 million in the last year. Tsai said Taiwan is not dependent on Chinese tourists as there are more tourists from various countries. The tourism industry is more balanced and structurally healthier, thus it can resist political manipulation.
Tsai emphasized the freedom to travel is the best way for Chinese youth to get to know Taiwan; it is the most natural and sincere interaction between both sides. Now, this right is abolished. “We feel very sorry about that,” Tsai said.