Wed, Jul 01, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Tourism Bureau sets new rules for tour operators

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Travel agencies arranging tours for Chinese tourists must now enter information about the hotels, tour guide licenses, tour bus numbers and other relevant information into an online inspection system before they are allowed to apply for entry permits for Chinese tourists, the Tourism Bureau said yesterday.

The bureau’s division chief Chen Mei-hsiu (陳美秀) said the information would be checked and a serial number will be granted to travel agencies that pass inspection, which can then be used to apply for entry permits.

“If the system finds that the travel agency hires tour buses that have been in use for more than 10 years, uses illegal hotels or commits any other violations, it will fail, meaning it will not be able to apply for the entry permit,” Chen said.

Meanwhile, Chen said that the Tourism Bureau would randomly select tour groups and check on the services they offer. The bureau will also survey Chinese tourists and ask them to evaluate the quality of their tour, she said.

The measure is scheduled to take effect today.

Earlier this year, a travel agency based in Kaohsiung left nine groups of Chinese tourists at their hotels because it did not secure tour buses before they arrived.

In related news, Kinmen has become a popular link to China, with the average occupancy rate of flights to Kinmen departing from Taipei, Taichung, Chiayi and Tainan topping 70 percent. Encouraged by the popularity of the route, Uni Air (立榮航空) said it would change to a bigger aircraft for flights from Tainan to Kinmen this month.

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