Hundreds of exhibitors offered tour packages at cut-throat prices on the first day of the 2012 Taipei Tourism Expo, in response to widespread belt-tightening as a result of rising consumer prices and recent fuel price increases.
Large numbers of people lined up outside the venue long before the expo opened at 10am, in an effort to grab the most desirable packages on offer.
“I have never seen so many people on the first day, so I am optimistic about sales for this year,” said Roget Hsu (許高慶), secretary-general of the Travel Agents Association, which organizes the annual event.
“Most people have come to the expo to look for bargain offers,” he said.
In the face of negative economic sentiment triggered by rising fuel prices and imminent electricity rate increases, many exhibitors offered a wide variety of cost-saving outbound and inbound travel packages designed to meet consumers’ reduced spending power.
For example, Lion Travel Service Co (雄獅旅遊) is offering a four-day package to Seoul, South Korea, costing just NT$8,499, because airline companies want to promote a new route between Taipei International Airport (Songshan) and Gimpo Airport in Seoul, company spokesman Andy Yu (游國珍) said.
Packages for next month would be the cheapest before the summer vacation season starts, he said.
Star Travel Corp (燦星旅遊) is offering a four-day trip to Xiamen in China for NT$6,600, a four-day trip to Busan in South Korea for NT$9,999, and a five-day trip to Beijing for NT$18,900, departing this month and next month.
Comfort Travel Service Co (可樂旅遊) is offering a three-day trip to Hong Kong or Macau staying at a five-star hotel for NT$6,999, company deputy general manager Jennifer Lin (林珊珊) said.
Comfort Travel is able to offer such a low price because there are plenty of available airline seats and hotel vacancies for both destinations as a result of the introduction of direct flights between Taiwan and China in 2008, Lin said.
About 20 travel fairs are held nationwide each year and the Taipei Tourism Expo, which focuses on outbound travel, is the second-largest after the Taipei International Travel Fair in October, which focuses more on inbound travel, Hsu said.
This year marks the sixth Taipei Tourism Expo, which has grown in size every year since its inception in 2007.
In 2010, the event attracted 358 exhibitors and 173,238 visitors, increasing to 380 exhibitors and 188,291 visitors last year.
A total of 480 exhibitors registered for this year’s fair and Hsu said he expected visitor numbers to establish a new record.
The fair will run through Monday at the Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall 1. Admission is NT$180 per person.