Battered by booming online travel agencies' irrational price cuts, traditional travel agents have decided to join forces and bring down costs to survive the cutthroat competition.
More than 70 local medium and small travel agencies have joined the newly-established Taiwan Travel Group (
"As online agencies are destroying the market's pricing mechanism, we know we must integrate our resources for mass procurement to stay competitive," Lin said.
Lin said that if 100 travel agents, which represent 5 percent of the total number of agencies in Taiwan, band together, they can bring down the costs of hotel rooms, plane tickets and admission to theme parks by up to 9 percent.
In addition to the personal service provided by its extensive brick-and-mortar network, which even reaches to Kinmen and Penghu, the group will set up a Web site in March next year to facilitate business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customer (B2C) transactions.
"This can help us retrieve our customers, as a growing number of people are getting used to making purchases online," he said.
The rising online rivals -- such as the nation's top three operators Eztravel.com (
According to statistics from the Institute for the Information Industry (
Online travel companies have shown astonishing revenue growth this year, registering an average growth rate of 50 percent to 80 percent compared with last year, the institute said.
Lin said that agencies in the north, where Internet usage is more widespread, have been the worst hit, with revenues dropping by as much as 40 percent.
A survey by online market research firm InsightXplorer (
Travel channels and Eastern Home Shopping Network (