Residents of a popular tourist destination in Taiwan are threatening to seal off their town unless the local government takes action to reduce numbers of mainland tourists
According to am730, Sizihwan Bay in Kaohsiung on the southwestern edge of Taiwan is being swamped by up to 4,000 tourists per day, which locals of the tiny tourist town say is causing traffic congestion and disorder.
While the local government has already proposed measures to improve the situation, including limits on the number of tour buses and improved public transport, residents complain that these measure are not enough, threatening to blockade the streets if more drastic measures are not taken.
The ultimatum comes as the Taiwanese government prepares to allow an increasing number of mainland tourists to the island amid thawing cross-strait relations. Starting on April 15, residents of a further 11 Chinese cities, including Haikou, Hohhot and Lanzhou, will be allowed to apply for individual permits to visit the island.
The city government in Kaoshiung has said that the planned action by residents of Sizihwan Bay could hurt the region’s travel industry. The locals, reportedly at their wits end, say that that is exactly what they are trying to achieve.
A total of 1.18 million mainlanders traveled to Taiwan on individual permits last year, the highest since the policy was introduced in June 2011. This figure is more than double the recorded number in 2013.
This incident is not the first time mainland tourists have made headlines in Taiwan. In 2013 a Chinese tour group beat up a Taiwanese man who asked them politely not to litter while visiting Mount Ali.
By Dominic Jackson