Fri, Jul 24, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Travel agents to protest ineffective bail-out scheme

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Travel Agent Association (TAA) said yesterday it would hold a rally in Taipei next month to protest against government measures to bail out financially troubled travel agencies, which it said had been ineffective in helping the nation’s sagging travel environment.

The association made the announcement following its assembly meeting yesterday afternoon.

TAA members voted unanimously to take their appeal to the streets on Aug. 15, association chairman Yao Ta-kuang (姚大光) said.

“Even though the Tourism Bureau has offered subsidies to cover interest accrued on loans, the fact is only about 20 travel agencies received the loans and very few firms have benefited from the policy,” Yao said.

In response, Tourism Bureau Director-General Janice Lai (賴瑟珍) said staging a protest would not solve the problem.

Lai said travel agencies were the only businesses that had received government subsidies to cover loan interest — a measure that the Council for Economic Planning and Development had opposed.

“Whether a travel agent can secure loans depends on the banks,” Lai said.

She said the bureau may consider providing cash to the travel agencies more quickly after it has discussed the matter with the banks.

“Banks will expand the credit line to travel agents,” Lai said. “However, we have to consider if it actually helps those in need or just creates bigger problems in the future.”

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