Sat, Aug 13, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Air fares may deter Chinese tourists

Staff Writer, with CNA

A slowdown in the number of Chinese tourists arriving in Taiwan could be the result of soaring airfares on flights across the Taiwan Strait, travel industry officials said yesterday.

According to the Tourism Bureau, about 680,000 Chinese tourists have visited Taiwan in the past seven months, 5 percent down year-on-year. Bureau officials said the sluggish market could be the result of high ticket prices, as the number of cross-strait direct flights to popular destinations remains far short of demand.

“The high price of air tickets has long been a source of concern among tourism industry stakeholders,” a bureau official said.

Star Travel Corp (燦星旅遊) manager Joseph Chu (瞿光復) said most of his Chinese clients pay around NT$20,000 (US$690) for a round-trip ticket to Taiwan, a 20 percent increase from a year ago.

Huang Nai-chen (黃迺珍), vice general manager of Best Way Travel Service Co (百威旅遊), said that higher fuel surcharges on international flights had also exacerbated the price problem.

Currently, fuel surcharges on one-way short-haul flights are US$27.5 per person, almost triple the US$10 in place at the beginning of 2009.

However, bureau officials said they are hopeful that an expected increase in the number of cross-strait flights by the end of the year would help to improve the situation by creating a better balance between supply and demand.

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