Thu, Oct 02, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Tourism Bureau releases this year's popular travel picks

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) Tourism Bureau yesterday announced the most popular travel destinations in Taiwan and explained its "Touch Your Heart, Taiwan" tax refund promotion.

The bureau reported that the Matou Taitien Temple (代天府) in Tainan County was Taiwan's most popular tourist destination, attracting 6.92 million visitors last year. In second place was the Tri-Mountain National Scenic Area (參山國家風景區) with 5.22 million visitors.

Chaotien Temple (朝天宮) in Yunlin County, Kenting National Park (墾丁國家公園) and the Taipei City Zoo were also top contenders, attracting 5.03, 4.82, and 4.15 million visitors respectively.

The bureau also studied overall travel expenditures, comparing figures from before and after the full implementation of the two-day weekend in 2001. The bureau's data indicated that in 1998, 3.2 percent of household expenditures were devoted to travel. In 2001, the figure was 3.11 percent, and last year, 3.19 percent.

Furthermore, the bureau reported that travel to national scenic areas, national parks, temples, and other public attractions had increased from an average of 853 tourists per month last year to 1,002 tourists this year despite the SARS outbreak in April and May.

The bureau is also working to attract tourists from outside the nation, announcing that foreign tourists can now request a 5 percent business tax refund for purchases made at 20 contracted "Touch Your Heart, Taiwan" department stores. The effort is aimed at doubling the number of tourists visiting Taiwan by 2008.

The Ministry of Finance reported that in Taipei City, the Breeze Center, SOGO, Shin Kong Mistukoshi, the Living Mall and Idee have been designated "tax return shops" (TRS) and display ministry issued TRS logos.

The bureau stated that over NT$3,000, or US$88.75, must be spent in the same department store for one's purchase to be eligible for the tax return. Furthermore, the goods must be taken out of the country within 30 days of purchase. The bureau reminded foreign tourists to complete appropriate forms while making purchases.

The tax refund can be claimed at the Chiang-kai Shek International Airport by bringing one's passport, purchases and completed forms to the customs tax-return counter.

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