Sat, Sep 19, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Hospitality sector granted compensation after storm

REBUILDING PLAN The Ministry of Transportation and Communications unveiled a NT$200 million program to help hotels and hostels recover from Typhoon Morakot

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Close to 1,200 hotel and hostel operators may qualify for property tax compensation and loan interest subsidies after their establishments were damaged by Typhoon Morakot last month, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said yesterday.

Huang Yu-chen (黃玉珍), director of the Tourism Bureau’s hotel inspection and supervision center, said yesterday Morakot completely destroyed several hotels and hostels when it struck on the weekend of Aug. 7.

“Although some operators did not suffer substantial property damage, they have lost a lot of customers because roads were either damaged or closed,” Huang said.

A nationwide Tourism Bureau survey found that the typhoon inflicted severe damage on hotels and hostels in Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Pingtung and Taitung counties.

Huang said the Executive Yuan yesterday approved the subsidy program for the hotel industry, which would be carried out in accordance with the Post-Typhoon Morakot Reconstruction Special Act (莫拉克颱風災後重建特別條例).

Aside from hotels and hostels in the five counties, the program will apply to hotels and hostels in Sinyi (信義) and Renai (仁愛) townships in Nantou County, where the typhoon also affected operations.

Tourism Bureau figures showed that 492 hotels and 697 hostels may qualify for the subsidy program.

In order to receive the subsidies, hotel and hostel operators must include evidence of damage in their applications. If the application is approved, the owner will receive 50 percent discount on their establishment’s property tax for this year.

Meanwhile, affected owners can also apply for loans from banks. Hotel owners will be able to borrow up to NT$10 million (US$308,900) in cash, while hostel operators can borrow up to NT$1 million in cash. Hotel owners will also qualify for a credit line of up to NT$30 million, while the limit for hostel owners is NT$4 million.

The MOTC will subsidize the interest accrued on the loans by up to 3 percent annually. The ministry will also provide a credit guarantee for those who are unable to provide collateral.

Huang said the program would be funded by the government’s special reconstruction budget, from which NT$220 million will be allocated for the program over the next three years.

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