A number of hotels in Greater Kaohsiung have received cancelations from Chinese tour groups, causing concern in the tourism sector.
Lin Fu-nan (林富男), head of the Southern Taiwan Tourism Industry Alliance (南台灣觀光產業聯盟), said on Saturday that many and all related industries would feel the impact. Lin said that hotel occupancy rates in Kaohsiung started to drop at the beginning of this month, but the decline picked up at the beginning of last week, with hotels in the municipality receiving nearly 10,000 room -cancelations from Chinese tour groups.
Reservations for next month have dropped by about 45 percent compared with the same month last year, Lin said.
In a policy decision by the Tourism Bureau, daily fees for Chinese tour groups were lowered from US$80 to US$60 per person. However, Lin said, this has decreased profits for Chinese tour companies, making them less willing to offer tours to Taiwan. The regulation was meant to curb some groups from offering fees as little as US$20 per day.
Hung Cheng-chang (洪成昌), secretary-general of Kaohsiung Tourism Bureau, said that while the city was glad to see the implementation of the rule because it would ensure the overall quality of tours from China, it would continue to observe and assess the impact of the regulation.
The number of free independent travelers from China has also fallen well short of government expectations, Lin said. He also expressed concern that direct flight services between Kaohsiung and cities in China would face operating losses if the situation fails to improve or worsens.