Sun, Jan 18, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Government unveils special ‘voucher’ bus package tours

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday unveiled a plan to launch special one-day bus tours, costing as little as NT$100, to bring customers to various shopping districts to use their soon-to-be-issued consumption vouchers.

The plan is intended to revitalize Taiwan’s sluggish retail sector by cashing in on the expected increase in purchasing power following the issuance of the vouchers today.

Ministry officials said a total of 2,000 bus tours will be made available around the country from March 1 through Aug. 31, with each tour accommodating up to 40 passengers. The NT$100 registration fee for each tour will include travel accident insurance.

Different packages will be provided according to the area and will mainly cover factory tours and visits to shopping districts and stores selling local specialties, the officials said.

CONTEST

To promote the program, the ministry is holding a contest to seek creative ideas from the public on possible tour itineraries.

The ministry has estimated that the tours will help create 1,200 jobs and generate NT$1 billion (US$30 million) in business.

The vouchers are being given out as part of an economic stimulus package to boost consumer spending and economic growth in light of the current economic downturn.

All Taiwanese citizens — with the exception of those living abroad without household registration or residency rights — and their foreign spouses will be eligible to each receive NT$3,600 in vouchers, which must be exchanged for goods by Sept. 30.

DRAWS

Targeting the shopping upsurge that is expected to follow the distribution of the vouchers, many local governments have recently come up with various ideas for lucky draws to encourage customers to use their vouchers within their jurisdiction.

Among some of the most attractive top prizes offered are a luxury apartment worth NT$12.1 million by Taichung City, a free year-long holiday to an uninhabited island close to the outlying island of Penghu, a plot of land or NT$6 million in cash by Changhua County, and a gold ingot weighing 100 taels (roughly 3.75kg) worth NT$3.5 million by Taipei County.

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