China Philippines fact of the day

by on September 9, 2017 at 1:58 pm in Travel | Permalink

Gulangyu — known as Kulangsu in the local Fujian dialect — is a typical example of this [growing tourism] trend, which has been repeated from Tibet to the Great Wall.

The 2 sq km island just off the thriving port city of Xiamen gets more than 10m visitors a year, almost double the number that visited the entire Philippine archipelago last year. On peak days in the past, more than 100,000 visitors clogged the winding, vehicle-free streets of the island, whose resident population is just 20,000. But the government capped the numbers at 35,000 per day this year as part of the Unesco bid.

That is from Ben Bland at the FT.

1 Mark Thorson September 9, 2017 at 4:07 pm

The explosion of internal tourism really is remarkable. If you ever wanted to see major Chinese sites, too late. You should have gone ten years ago. Now, they’re mobbed all the time. This has driven the construction of new tourist sites all over China. One that I find curious is the dangerous walkway. Usually, this is a sheer cliff with a very narrow walkway built into the side. Like two feet wide and no guardrail or a guardrail so flimsy you wouldn’t dare rely on it. Often they look to be delibrately constructed to be scary, like made out of glass or badly weathered lumber. Apparently, there’s something about this which really appeals to the Chinese. They also have recently built high glass bridges over deep gorges which are quite safe but similarly scary.

2 Harun September 10, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Roller coasters, then?

3 Mark Thorson September 10, 2017 at 11:40 pm

I don’t know. A big difference is that a roller coaster is a passive experience — you’re seated and you experience it. With a narrow high walkway or glass bridge, you have to walk over it. I think that might be important.

4 Viking September 9, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Does that score as something good coming out of colonialism?

These Victorian (or some other English artsy 1800s style) buildings sure didn’t come there of their own volition!

I have visited there twice, very pleasant city park with no private cars.

Also, a few kilometers off Xiamen, is an island controlled by Taiwan:,_Republic_of_China

5 Observer September 9, 2017 at 9:50 pm

Kinmen (known as Quemoy as well) has a local delicacy called sand worms. They are as enjoyable to eat as they sound.

6 prior_test3 September 10, 2017 at 4:51 am

The moonshine from Quemoy, with fresh orange juice added when drinking it, is quite good, however. At least back during the height of the Cold War.

7 Dick the Butcher September 9, 2017 at 4:58 pm

They had to limit the tourists or Gulangyu would have sunk.

One of Obama’s geniuses said the US couldn’t deploy to Guam a division of US Marine division because the island would sink into the Pacific Ocean.

8 Jan September 9, 2017 at 9:44 pm

You’re an idiot.

9 static September 11, 2017 at 3:48 pm

He wasn’t one of Obama’s geniuses, just a normal congressperson.

10 Careless September 9, 2017 at 11:07 pm

Sinking would have made more sense. You actually can make land sink by putting enough weight on it.

No, that idiot said “my fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize”

11 A clockwork orange September 9, 2017 at 11:38 pm

Cowan sent me to the phillipines in the summer of 28. He heard from a flapper girl at a local underbar about a girl who fell into a ditch and died from the bladen spring overflow. It was the type of story cowan could turn into a set of keys, and I was just the man to Jonas salk the shit out of it.

12 Bill September 9, 2017 at 5:55 pm

I guess satiric hyperbole is not your style if you take everything literally.

It must be scary for you.

13 Bill September 9, 2017 at 5:55 pm

This was in reply to Dick above.

14 Ray Lopez September 10, 2017 at 12:56 am

Why mention the Philippines in this post? Is this Chinese island in the disputed South China Sea, or is TC trolling me for a reply? OK, here’s my reply: who cares? Chinese tourists are clueless. You see them in the Acropolis taking selfies and acting like rude fools, as is their want. The Greeks just want their money (Piraeus as a Chinese port is but one example). Life goes on. And remember kids, date, marry and reproduce inter-racially.

15 Andao September 10, 2017 at 3:23 pm

Because a single site in China gets more tourists than all of the Philippines. That’s pretty remarkable

16 ChrisA September 10, 2017 at 2:30 am

I don’t think the world has really taken on the implications of a billion or so middle class Chinese and Indians competing for the same services as Western Europeans and Americans. Of course the initial impact was clear in terms of the great moderation in manufacturing and the oil price surge, as they moved up in to the bottom of the middle class, but now we are seeing the impact in other areas like tourism. In many European cities the Chinese are already becoming the majority tourist trade, but imagine Paris with an extra 5 or 10 million Chinese and Indians visitors every summer. It seems like the only answer is to raise prices in these places for hotels, museums, and other tourist sites , very significantly. Which maybe will be what finally reverses the trade deficit between the West and East as well as having other impacts (poor local people won’t be able to visit their own countries tourist sites). You can also imagine that rent exhaustion will become a big thing in the West – people will be better off waiting on a rich Chinese tourist taking their cab once per week, rather than working in a factory. Perhaps it will be done by raising visa prices, imagine a $10,000 visa cost to visit Switzerland.

One interesting issue – of course in places with sea views property prices should soar meaning that affordability of defences against rising seas becomes a non-issue. It seems like rising seas is the major effect expected by the climate change apocalyptical types so it is good that there will now be lots more people willing to invest in defences. There are currently lots of countries that have great coastlines but don’t have a tourist trade because of crime and other instabilities, like in Africa or South America. These countries will benefit as the wall of money from China and India overwhelms these factors.

My top tip for a country that will benefit the most is Chile – fantastic coastline, lots of it undeveloped, and great weather.

17 Behemot September 10, 2017 at 3:45 am


Add Vietnam, Indonesia, etc. and other places with rising middle classes and you will have a very interesting result. Houllebecq, in “The Map and the Territory” actually envisioned a future not much different from the one imagined by you for Europe.

18 Harun September 10, 2017 at 2:20 pm

1) In 2020, China’s population begins to decline.
2) Sea Views are more of a Western thing. Chinese are not that enamored of them – they prefer mountain scenery.
3) Have you ever looked into flying to Chile from China? Its 36 hours or so…not doable unless for some crazy reason.

19 Maitreya September 10, 2017 at 6:41 am

What a truly tabloid-style article. Getting UNESCO status will bring much more recognition, tourism, revenue, and more budgets in the end. Totally worth it for some short term loss of tourists.

Moreover, if China didn’t do the things listed here, then it would’ve been promptly accused even more of favoring “commercialization over local culture”, assuming, perhaps, that the local economy wan’t dependent on tourism at all. China is always Guilty Until Proven Guilty.

And then of course, there’s the standard trope of China reporting: China’s “push” and “lobbying” for “international recognition”. Apparently, when western countries have their sites in the world heritage list, then it’s because they deserve it. But when a Chinese site is listed, it’s just because of lobbying and Xi Jinping’s “push to showcase Chinese soft power at home and abroad”. After all, everyone knows that all of China’s 52 UNESCO World Heritage sites have been given the status only since Xi came into power in 2012. Before Xi’s “soft power push”, China had no heritage sites at all.

20 Average Man September 10, 2017 at 11:32 am

I’m not certain that you’re responding to the article as it is written.

21 Harun September 10, 2017 at 2:24 pm

“Apparently, when western countries have their sites in the world heritage list, then it’s because they deserve it.”

Also, UNESCO site status is really more important for the government and its officials. Average people do not care about this status.

22 Maitreya September 11, 2017 at 3:53 am

But remember – it is only average people in China that are against it! China has world heritage sites only because of authoritarian China’s push for soft power at home and abroad – a personal ruthless project of Xi Jinping!

If this was a town in Italy or France, then UNESCO status would be welcomed by the average people as it would help boost the economy!

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