Taiwan's Economic Woes Take Toll on Hawaii's Tourist Industry

Taiwan's continued economic slowdown has taken its toll on the tourism industry in Hawaii, reports reaching here from Taipei said Wednesday.

A Taiwan official in charge of commercial issues said that 20 percent of ethnic Chinese in Hawaii operate tourism related services.

"Taiwan's economic woes have seriously affected their business revenues, particularly after two major Taiwan carriers suspended their direct Taiwan-Hawaii flight services," he said.

With the Taiwan economy losing steam, the official said, the number of relatively expensive U.S.-bound tour group from Taiwan has declined steadily since the second half of last year.

As a result, Taiwan's EVA airways took the lead in grounding its direct Taiwan-Hawaii flights earlier this years, and another Taiwan carrier, China Airlines, followed suit on May 1.

Since then, the number of Taiwan tour groups to Hawaii has dropped by more than 60 percent, and Taiwan tourists, who once were prominently seen at major Hawaii tourist destinations, are now a "rare species" in Hawaii, the official said.

"And most depressing of all is that no end to the current plight is in sight," the official said, adding that some Hawaii tourist services operators have switched their focus to attracting holiday-makers from the Chinese mainland and the U.S. mainland.

Local travel sources said the number of Taiwan tour groups bound for the U.S. mainland has also dropped substantially. The number of Taiwan students who have registered to attend short-term classes in the United States during the summer vacation this year has declined 60 percent from the year-earlier level, they said.

People's Daily Online --- http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/