Sat, Dec 11, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Air travel prices to soar: TQAA

ECONOMIC RECOVERY:Although prices are set to increase across the board, the increased cost of flights to Europe, whether bargain or luxury trips, is likely to be most noticeable

By Shelley Huang  /  Staff Reporter

As the economy bounces back and with peak travel season approaching, flying to destinations all over the world is about to get more expensive.

The Travel Quality Assurance Association (TQAA) yesterday announced its estimated group tour rates for travel worldwide for the period covering next month through March, which includes the Lunar New Year holiday, when workers have close to a week off and air fares shoot up.

The most sizeable increase — about NT$25,000 compared with the same period this year — is expected for tours to Europe, particularly southern European countries, mainly because of higher airfares.

Despite the thousands of NT dollars saved thanks to visa-free travel for Republic of China citizens traveling to Europe, higher airfares will be the main reason for the spike in price, travel agents said.

The higher fees will particularly affect group tours to Europe ranging from bargain tours to expensive luxury tours featuring five-star hotels and Michelin restaurants, agents said.

European group tours can range anywhere from NT$59,900 for a 10-day tour to the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and France, to NT$124,900 for 10-day tours to Italy.

Another region that will become relatively more expensive to travel to is Japan, where travel fares are expected to rise more than 20 percent as the result of a stronger Yen and increased airfare, the TQAA said. Five-day group tours to popular Japanese destinations such as Tokyo, Osaka and Hokkaido could jump from NT$38,000 to NT$50,000 in the next couple of months, and to as much as NT$75,000 during the Lunar New Year holidays.

Rising airfares will also strongly affect group tour rates to the US and Canada, with increases of between NT$8,000 and NT$13,000 compared with the same period this year.

Popular winter destinations such as Australia and New Zealand will also see rates shoot up by between NT$3,000 and NT$10,000 from the same period this year.

Tours to parts of China, including Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai, are likely to cost about NT$2,000 to NT$10,000 more because of the stronger yuan and the rising price of local consumer goods.

On the other hand, the cost of traveling to Southeast Asia is expected to rise by between NT$1,000 and NT$3,000 compared with the same period this year.

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