The government is considering the possibility of waiving a travel permit requirement for Chinese tourists arriving in Taiwan through a third nation, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said yesterday.
Lin made the remark during an inspection of a railroad construction site in Taitung.
Cheng Yueh-tsai (鄭越才), chairman of Taitung-based Papago International Resort, last week said that China’s suspension of individual visits to Taiwan would cause half of the nation’s hotels and bed-and-breakfast operators to go out of business.
The suspension would certainly affect Taiwan’s tourism industry and a solution must be found, Lin said.
The ministry would provide subsidies to domestic travelers for fall and winter tours, he said, adding that it would also roll out a series of promotional campaigns to attract international tourists.
“[The suspension] serves as an opportunity to test the soundness of the nation’s hospitality industry, which has to learn to diversify risk. Through the efforts of the past few years, we have managed to lower the percentage of Chinese tourists to about 25 percent,” he said.
The ministry would propose to the Executive Yuan that the government study the possibility of giving tax breaks to hoteliers affected by China’s policy or helping them secure loans as short-term remedies, Lin said.
He also said that the government is considering the possibility of waiving the travel permit or visa requirements for Chinese tourists or those from Southeast Asian nations if they arrive in Taiwan from a third country.
The third countries could include Japan, South Korea and Singapore, as well as nations in Europe and North America, he said.
“These countries have set stricter standards to screen tourists. If the tourists have secured visas from these countries, we can relax the visa requirement a bit,” he said.
Lin had previously said that the nation is considering simplifying the visa application procedure or waiving the visa requirements for certain Southeast Asian countries.
In addition to relaxing visa requirements, some have said that the nation needs to more extensively promote its rich tourism resources.
“Most international visitors are only familiar with tourist attractions such as Taipei 101, but few know that there are other places worth visiting, such as Mr Brown Avenue in Chishan Township (池上) in Taitung,” Singapore Airlines Taiwan general manager Melvin Ng (黃文杰) said. “The focus is always on the main attractions, but there are other places that are equally nice.”
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