Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Taiwan: Accidents Involving Visitors Flags Risk of Tourism

A Mainland Chinese tourist who suffered major injuries in a tour bus crash last week in eastern Taiwan died earlier today (February 21), the second traffic fatality involving Chinese citizens since the beginning of the year. Gou Xiaorong, who succumbed to multiple organ failure, was traveling on a tour bus carrying 32 Chinese visitors when it rolled over.

The accident, which occurred on February 17 due to excessive speeding, left eight other Chinese tourists seriously injured and 23 with minor injuries.

Last April [2011]
a train crash in central Taiwan killed six Chinese tourists. As a result, travel to Taiwan by Mainland China tourists dropped significantly in May and June by 22% and 28%, respectively.

COMMENT: Unfortunately, like many other countries which I have mentioned in recent postings, Taiwan has not taken the necessary steps to safeguard tourists when they travel abroad, particularly as regards safety standards and enforcement of the transportation industry.

Another subject that complicates accidents involving tourists, particularly those from Mainland China, is that the PRC only began to permit its citizens to travel to Taiwan outside of organized travel groups last year.

There is a lot riding on this new program, politically and economically, because the approach had hopes of easing political tension between the two arch adversaries and helping the Taiwanese economy as well.

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