Affected by the growing number of Chinese tourists traveling abroad, Taiwanese tourists are expected to have to spend more during the Lunar New Year holidays this year, an industry veteran said yesterday.
Group tour fees, plane tickets and accommodation costs for next month's Lunar New Year holidays will soar to their highest level ever, said Roget Hsu (
In the past, only tours to the more popular destinations were expensive during Lunar New Year. But it is apparent this year that price hikes have become a given across all tour packages.
Citing the association's statistics, Hsu said tour expenses during the nine-day vacation will be up to 50 percent higher than off-peak levels and around 20 percent more than during the same holiday period last year.
For example, an eight-day tour to the Netherlands, Belgium and France will cost NT$54,900 (US$1,670), compared with an off-peak price of NT$38,900. Similarly, a nine-day tour of England will cost around NT$69,900, 30 percent more than the regular price of NT$53,900.
The large number of Chinese tourists expected to visit popular destinations such as Phuket in Thailand and Bali, Indonesia, has also driven up tour group prices, Hsu said.
Despite the price hikes, Taiwanese tourists' enthusiasm seems unaffected as airlines report that only a few seats on extra flights are still available, he added.
The number of Chinese traveling during the Lunar New Year holidays -- which begin on Feb. 17 -- has overtaken that of tourists from Hong Kong and Taiwan, said Hsu, adding that China's rapid economic expansion in recent years is fueling that growth.
"An irreversible trend has become apparent. Traveling expenses during this period will only get higher in the future due to the growing demand worldwide fueled by Chinese tourists," he said.
Hsu could not say how many Chinese are expected to travel abroad during this year's Lunar New Year holidays. But citing official Chinese figures, Hsu said a record 34 million Chinese tourists traveled abroad last year, up 10 percent year-on-year, with about 50 percent of those visiting Southeast Asia and about 30 percent traveling to Japan and South Korea.
So far, China has approved 132 countries and regions as destinations for outbound tourism, the People's Daily reported in its online edition yesterday, citing the China National Tourism Administration.
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