The SARS-battered travel industry may be breathing a sigh of relief after agents reported better-than-expected travel bookings to Phuket and Bali over the past few days.
"People are getting tired of staying at home and thinking they really want to travel," said Lee Lo-sheng (
Last week Longwaytour booked 190 passengers on its NT$11,900-budget travel package to Phuket, Li said. To drive up sales for the Dragon Boat Festival on June 4, the company this week launched a NT$12,300-package to Bali and has seen a positive response from tourists, he added.
In partnership with the nation's biggest international carrier, China Airlines Co (
Compared with other standard packages priced an average NT$27,900 in the past, these budget offers may affect the company's bottom line.
"Getting people back traveling is the precondition for rebuilding confidence in the industry," Lee said.
Another industry veteran observed outbound tourist bookings started to pick up earlier this week after government officials assured the public the epidemic has stabilized and people may return to their normal lives.
"We saw the number of [overseas] bookings at 406 on May 26," Frank Chen (
Lion Travel is currently cooperating with EVA Airways Corp (
Lion's daily sales surge to NT$12.87 million on Wednesday, about five-fold of its averaged daily sales during the first four weeks of the month.
"The situation is turning better as the number of new SARS cases decreases," Chen said.
Lion Travel expects tourist bookings will back to around 80 percent of what they used to be during summer holidays.
The Travel Agent Association ROC (中華民國旅行公會), which represents some 2,500 travel agencies nationwide, will ask member companies to work out plans with airlines in encouraging Taiwanese to travel to non-SARS affected countries, while cooperating with local hotels to boost domestic tours, association secretary-general Roget Hsu (許高慶) said.