Sat, Jan 08, 2011 - Page 2 News List

CPC considering extending travel protection law

By Joy Yang  /  Staff Reporter

The Cabinet’s Consumer Protection Commission (CPC) is mulling better protection for travelers ahead of the coming winter vacation and Lunar New Year holidays, which represent the country’s peak travel season.

The commission said yesterday that in the past, when solo travelers wanted to cancel a trip because of an emergency in the country or region to be visited, they had to pay as much as 70 percent of the total cost of the trip to their travel agency.

However, in the proposed new regulations, solo travelers would enjoy the same protection as group travelers, who are required to pay no more than 5 percent in the same scenario.

Commission official Chen Hsing-hung (陳星宏) said that at the moment, the policy for trip cancellation protection only covers group package tours, hence solo travelers have to pay more if they want to cancel a trip because of an -emergency situation, such as demonstrations by the Red Shirts in Thailand.

However, the commission said solo travelers would soon enjoy the same level of protection as group travelers if they need to cancel their trip to countries or regions where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued an orange alert.

The Tourism Bureau said that it had negotiated with the Consumers’ Foundation, Travel Quality Assurance Association, as well as travel agency associations and it plans to make the new regulations public next week.

The bureau defines “solo travelers” as those who buy transportation or lodging arrangements from Taiwanese travel agencies or those who have travel agencies arrange flight tickets and lodging, but without being part of a group served by a travel agency tour conductor.

However, travelers who buy “airfare plus lodging” packages are excluded from protection under the new regulation, according to the bureau.

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