Tourism sector expecting Amway visits to boost sales

FORECAST::The tour groups are to spend four nights in several luxury hotels and are expected to increase sales of the nation’s hotel industry by more than NT$300 million

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 - Page 13

After reporting a year-on-year rise in revenue for last month, Taiwan’s tourism sector expects sales for this month and next month to also increase from the same period a year earlier on the back of visits by more than 12,000 Chinese employees of the US multilevel marketing company Amway.

Amway — a global direct-selling brand — is offering incentive travel to Taiwan for its Chinese employees on five separate cruises between this month and next month, with the first group expected to arrive tomorrow.

“We think these groups will boost the momentum of the nation’s tourism sector,” Liu Ming-hsiung (劉明雄), president of Amway Taiwan and vice president of Amway Greater China, told a media briefing last week.

The groups are set to spend four nights in Taipei. The guests will stay in several luxury hotels, including the Formosa Regent Taipei (晶華酒店), the Westin Taipei (台北六福皇宮), W Taipei, Le Meridian Taipei (台北寒舍艾美酒店), the Palais de Chine Hotel (君品酒店), the Sherwood Taipei (西華飯店), the Grand Hyatt Taipei (君悅飯店) and the Sheraton Taipei Hotel (台北喜來登大飯店).

The accommodation and catering services on offer for the Amway groups are expected to increase the nation’s hotel industry sales by more than NT$300 million (US$10.09 million), analysts forecast.

Last month, the hotel sector reported a significant increase in sales from the same period a year earlier, as the nine-day Lunar New Year holiday provided an incentive for tourists to travel around the nation.

Formosa International Hotels Corp (FIHC, 晶華國際酒店集團) — which operates the Formosa Regent Taipei — posted NT$442.38 million in consolidated sales last month, up 10.6 percent from a year earlier, while Leofoo Tourism Group (六福旅遊集團), operator of the Westin Taipei, saw its consolidated revenue grow 19.88 percent to NT$225.7 million last month from a year earlier.

Besides boosting the hotel segment, the Amway groups are expected to boost sales for certain airlines, restaurant operators, retailers and even taxi firms.

Ever Rich DFS Corp (昇恆昌), which runs Ever Rich Duty Free Shops in Taiwan, is set to launch an exclusive shopping session for the groups, while Taiwan Taxi Co (台灣大車隊) — the nation’s largest cab service provider — is set to take responsibility for most of their taxi transportation during their stay, an Amway official said.

Visits by Chinese tourists are expected to grow by 15 percent to 3 million this year as the government further eases restrictions on their visits, JPMorgan Securities (Taiwan) Ltd said last week.

“We think the strong momentum should continue in 2013, driven by an improving macro economy and further deregulation of Chinese tourism policy,” Taipei-based JPMorgan analyst Caren Huang wrote in a note on Thursday.

Direct cross-strait flights are to increase to 616 flights per week from 558 flights per week, and nine more destinations — eight in China and one in Taiwan — are to be added to a network that already covers 41 cities, Huang said.

In addition, the quota for Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan in groups may rise to 5,000 per day, up from 4,000, and the quota for individual travelers could double to 2,000 per day, JPMorgan said.