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Tiaoyutais row unlikely to affect Taiwan-Japan tourism: experts

2012/09/11 21:03:32

Taipei, Sept. 11 (CNA) Increasing tension between Taiwan and Japan amid the territorial dispute over the Tiaoyutai Islands is unlikely to affect tourism between the two countries, industry specialists said Tuesday.

"It is tourism we are talking about here, not politics," Liu Chien-ming, general manager of Best Way Travel Service Co., told CNA.

Concern about Taiwan-Japan tourism exchanges was raised by the media following Japan's decision that day to buy the disputed Tiaoyutai Islands from their self-claimed Japanese owners, a move Taiwan considers to be a serious infringement on its territorial sovereignty.

Liu said the impact on Taiwan-Japan tourism will be limited, as the market is well-established and there is a general affection shared by both sides.

However, with the autumn foliage tourism campaign about to kick off in Japan -- which traditionally brings huge sales for local travel agencies -- other stakeholders have expressed concern.

"We have been waiting for the peak travel season for so long and we don't want any surprises," said Roget Hsu, secretary-general of the Travel Agent Association of the Republic of China, Taiwan.

There is not likely to be any significant damage to the travel business, Hsu said, but added that a negative impact is still inevitable.

With Taiwan-Japan tourism steadily on the rise, especially since more Japan-based low-cost airlines have been showing interest in investing in the niche market in Taiwan, Hsu expressed hope that the political turmoil will be settled as soon as possible.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)