Massive influx of Chinese tourists exposes Taiwan’s catering shortfalls


Taipei – The arrival of Chinese tourists in ever-increasing droves has highlighted Taiwan’s lack of large venues for staging large group activities, a local travel agency executive said Monday.

Tai Chi-heng, chairman of the Bobby Travel Service Co., Ltd. said his company had great difficulty finding a hall in Taipei in which to stage a conference and banquet Monday for more than 5,200 employees of Perfect (China) Co. Ltd., the second-largest direct sales company in China.

He said his company finally managed to rent the Nankang Exhibition Hall at the Taipei World Trade Center, which has a capacity of 6,000 people, as a venue for the party, but had to spend NT$20 million (US$622,084) to convert the exhibition hall into a dining hall with a temporary stage.

Tai said that his company, as well as three other local travel agencies that jointly lined up the tours for the Perfect workers, had to hire hundreds of extra workers to serve the Chinese tourists, in addition to seconding 600 workers from a local hotel to cater for the lunch and dinner banquets.

Tai said his Chinese customers were satisfied with the treatment they received in Taiwan, with a Perfect executive saying that the tour has set a benchmark for the company’s future overseas incentive reward trips.

The 5,200 employees being recognized by the company arrived in Taiwan in 130 separate groups between July 14 and July 18 for seven- or nine-day tours covering mostly the western part of the island.

Tai estimated that they will bring NT$300 million-worth of business, including NT$220 million in travel costs alone.

Perfect President Hu Ruilian said the excellent time the company’s employees experienced in Taiwan will attract them to revisit the country under their own steam in the future.