Sat, Sep 28, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Hotel association calls for action on ‘tourism deficit’

BUILD AND THEY WILL COME:As assocation’s report says Taiwan needs large-scale international conference centers to plug the almost annual US$5 billion deficit

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan Tourist Hotel Association (觀光旅館商業同業公會) yesterday called on the government to help stimulate the nation’s tourism by building up large-scale conference centers and tourist attractions.

TEN MILLION VISITORS

The association also said it expects the government to attract more than 10 million inbound travelers a year, while unveiling its annual white paper.

Association president Lai Cheng-i (賴正鎰), along with the organization’s directors and supervisors, yesterday handed over the white paper to Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時).

The white paper includes five directions, translating into 25 measures and suggestions, which the association hopes the government will carry out to promote the tourism sector.

“Despite the number of travelers to Taiwan showing continuous growth, the tourism deficit has still expanded to nearly US$5 billion per year,” said Lai, who is also the chairman of land developer Shining Group (鄉林集團) and operator of the luxury hotel Lalu (涵碧樓), at a media briefing before the meeting with Yeh.

Lai said the government should build at least three large-scale international conference centers in northern, central and southern Taiwan in order to boost business travel to the nation’s science parks.

Precision machinery companies in Central Taiwan Science Park, will also use the conference centers for exhibitions, he said.

Meanwhile, Lai said that the government should develop five tourism zones by releasing state-owned lands and recruiting international investment.

“We also want a ‘Santosa Island’ in Taiwan,” Lai said.

He added that Taiwan can learn a lesson from the Santosa Island Resort successfully developed by Singapore.

BEIJING TALKS

Lai further urged the government to accelerate talks with Beijing, so that Taiwan can become a major transit point for Chinese tourists, once Beijing eases travel restrictions.

He added that human resources training and creatively differentiating each tourist attraction is important as well.

Yeh said that the ministry will look to boost the nation’s tourism sector after discussing the suggestions and measures in the white paper with related government agencies.

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