Taiwan tourism workers call for help as Chinese numbers fall

Hundreds of Taiwanese workers in tourism-related businesses have rallied in the capital to draw attention to a sharp decline in Chinese visitors that is putting their industry under heavy strain.

Workers marched down a central street in Taipei on Monday calling for the preservation of jobs and assistance to the industry, including allowing the owners of tour buses to delay their loan payments.

They urged the government to encourage domestic tourism and allow visa-free entry for travelers from the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations as an inducement.

The number of Chinese visitors has fallen since Beijing began discouraging travel to the island following the May inauguration of independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen. Tsai has refused to endorse Beijing's concept that Taiwan is part of a single Chinese nation.