Taipei, Sept. 20 (CNA) Taiwan saw the number of visiting Chinese tourists plummet by 32.41 percent in August compared with the same period of last year, according to Tourism Bureau data released Tuesday, increasing concerns about more serious contraction of the market sector.

According to the statistics, Taiwan recorded 248,538 visits from Chinese nationals, down from 367,736 last year.


The decline is more pronounced in the segment of group tourists, which accounted for only 73,380 Chinese visits in August, a 54.96 percent year-on-year drop.

The situation is worrisome for local tour operators, as many of them rely heavily on the Chinese market.

Tourism industry workers took to the streets earlier this month to voice their appeal for “survival, jobs and a living wage” in the wake of the increasing decline in Chinese tourist numbers since President Tsai Ing-wen (???) took office in May.

However, the data also shows that visitor numbers from Japan and South Korea showed considerable growth.

A total of 187,065 Japanese and 78,023 Koreans came to Taiwan in August, up 30.32 percent and 43.64 percent year-on-year, respectively.

The government’s “new southbound policy” — which tries to encourage businesses to shift investment to Southeast Asia rather than head for China, in the hope of leveraging Taiwan’s economic might into political clout — also seems to be working.

Taiwan registered 13,632 visits from Thailand, 17,041 visits from Vietnam and 13,130 visits from the Philippines, up 67.94 percent, 32.24 percent and 21.42 percent, respectively.

Overall, Taiwan saw 863,540 foreign visits in August, down 3.44 percent from last year. (By Chen Wei-ting and Lee Hsin-Yin) [/restrict]