Fri, Feb 27, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Tourism industry urges maintenance of high standards

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Representatives from Taiwan’s tourism sector yesterday asked travel agencies to follow strict self-regulation when dealing with tour groups from China, saying that they must not charge Chinese tourists less than US$60 per day per head.

Travel Agent Association (TAA) chairman Ya Ta-kuang (姚大光) said the Tourism Bureau also required that Chinese tourists be charged no more than US$80 per day to ensure quality of service. He said US$80 is commonly perceived as a reasonable price.

While Yao said some travel agencies might still be able to offer an acceptable level of service for less than US$80 per day, it was impossible for them to charge less than US$60 per day and still maintain standards.

Yao raised the issue at a cross-strait travel seminar yesterday, attended by Tourism Bureau Deputy Director General Hsieh Wei-chun (謝謂君), China’s National Tourism Administration Chairman Shao Qiwei (邵琪偉) and several travel industry representatives from Taiwan and China.

Yao said that some travel agents allegedly offer tour packages for as little as US$30 per day, seeking to earn profits by arranging for visitors to go shopping at designated stores.

Yao cited statistics from the TAA — which is entrusted by the government to help review applications from tour groups from China — showing that an average of 700 Chinese tourists per day are scheduled to come to Taiwan next month.

As more than 100 Chinese travel agencies are authorized to organize tours to Taiwan, the number could potentially rise to 1,500 per day, he said.

Shao said in his presentation that both sides of the Strait could maximize cross-strait tourism by engaging in tourist exchange mechanisms, like campaigns launched in Jiangsu and Shandong.

Both sides also need to establish a platform to exchange travel information that enables travel agencies to design different tour packages and to better cope with emergency situations, he said.

Shao also mentioned the possibility of promoting a cross-strait cruise tour service this year.

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