Fri, Feb 07, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Tourism Bureau threatens to pull Ying Lun's license


The Ministry of Transportation and Communications' Tourism Bureau said yesterday that the license of Ying Lun Travel Co (英倫旅行社), which defaulted on its financial obligations, will be revoked should representatives of the company fail to deal with the disruption of hundreds of Taiwanese visitors' trips to China.

"We are waiting for the travel agency's owner to show up to solve the problem. If they fail to do so by next Monday, the travel agency's license will be repealed," said Hsu Li-yue (許禮樂), an official at the bureau.

Hsu visited the travel agency's office yesterday morning but was unable to find anyone there to talk to.

According to the Taipei Association of Travel Agents (台北市旅行同業公會), Ying Lun failed to pay NT$4 million to Chinese travel agencies with which it had worked to offer tours to China.

The move disrupted the plans of 536 Taiwanese tourists' trips during the Lunar New Year vacation.

The Travel Quality Assurance Association (TQAA), which aims to resolve disputes between travel agencies and customers, revoked Ying Lun's membership yesterday.

Ying Lun's NT$150,000 membership fee will be used to reimburse customers, according to the association.

Ying Lun has been in business since 1990 and specializes in offering trips to China.

About 400 Ying Lun customers returned to Taipei late last night.

Hsu said that most of the tourists completed their tours by covering expenses that Ying Lun neglected to pay.

He added that tourists who paid for such expenses would be entitled to apply for reimbursement from the TQAA.

The association said that some of the returned tourists filed the applications for reimbursement yesterday, but no figures were available.

Chen Yi-chuan (陳怡全), secretary-general of the association, told reporters that tourists who paid for expenses to continue their trips would be entitled to receive the reimbursements, but those who paid extra charges to Chinese travel agencies might not be so lucky.

"Customers should not have paid for any extra charges during or after the trip," Chen said.

Chen was referring to the case of 12 tourists traveling to Yunan Province who paid an additional 5,268 yuan (US$636) each -- about the same amount as what they paid to Ying Lun -- to a Chinese travel agency. Chen said that the payment is not reasonable.

According to the Taipei Association of Travel Agents, some 350 visitors on tours organized by the company are still in China and are expected to stick to their original schedule.

The last 195 tourists on trips organized by Ying Lun are sche-duled to come back to Taiwan on Sunday.

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