A Taiwanese academic has called for the nation to reconsider its ban on gambling after Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau released new figures showing that the tourism deficit topped NT$300 billion (US$9.7 billion) for the first time in 2017.
A report issued by the Tourism Bureau late last week revealed that the tourism deficit – the difference between money spent by visitors to Taiwan versus money spent by locals on overseas travel – has continued to widen each year since 2011.
But Liu Hsi-lin, Vice President of the National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism, believes the introduction of casino gaming could help alleviate the problem.
As reported by the Taipei Times, Liu cited the strong tourism results from Singapore’s casinos – which saw visitor numbers grow 25% in the four years after both Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa opened in 2009 – as evidence of the impact gaming could have in Taiwan.
Casino gaming has long been mooted in Taiwan with the Tourism Casino Administration Act, which technically paves the way for casinos, enacted in 2013. However, under current law the actual legalization of casinos also requires another bill to be passed by Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan – a move the government has shown little interest in progressing in the five years since.
In that time, two Taiwanese counties have voted no in casino referendums with Penghu rejecting the notion in 2016 and Kinmen County last year.