An academic in Taiwan has called on the government to reconsider its policy on gambling in the face of new figures indicating that the tourism deficit topped TWD300bn ($9.7bn) for the first time in 2017.
A report published by the national Tourism Bureau at the beginning of October showed that the country’s tourism deficit has continued to grow each year since 2011.
In light of this, Liu Hsi-lin, vice president of the National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism, suggests that the government should take another look at introducing casino gaming.
Liu contends that the growth of Singapore’s tourism market following the introduction of casinos – visitor numbers rose by a quarter in the four years following the opening of Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa in 2009 – offers an example of the positive impact the industry could have in Taiwan.
The country’s government authorised the construction of casinos in Taiwan’s outlying islands in 2009, provided local residents first approved the plans in a referendum.
However, last October, residents of the Kinmen islands almost unanimously rejected a proposal to authorise casino gambling.
According to figures released by the Kinmen County Election Commission, the referendum saw just a 24 percent turnout, but nearly 90 percent of votes cast were against a plan to establish an an “international holiday resort complex” – including a casino – in the islands.