The Tourism Bureau yesterday announced it had launched a certification system to ensure that hostels provide quality services to their customers.
Statistics from the bureau show there are more than 3,000 legal hostel operators in Taiwan. However, disputes have arisen in recent years after customers complained that service was not the same as that promised in information the operators had posted online.
The bureau said it decided in 2009 to launch a certification system to review the quality of hostels, adding that it also published course material as well as standards for those interested in being certified.
To qualify for the certification program, a hostel must not have had violated any rules in the past. Those qualified must then pass an evaluation by members of the review committee, comprised of university professors, hoteliers and reporters.
Committee members will look at the infrastructure and quality of service to determine whether certification is granted.
The director of the bureau’s hotel inspection and supervision center, Chen Yu-chuan (陳煜川), said 325 hostels had passed the evaluation so far, adding that the bureau was scheduled to grant the “Taiwan Host” (好客民宿) certification label in April.
The label features a green tree house, which certifies that the owner uses his or her own property and provides eco-friendly services.
Chen said the committee members would meet whenever they received complaints from clients of questionable service. Hostel operators will be given a chance to defend themselves and to improve their service and must give a proper response to the client within a month after the complaint is filed.
Any severe violation would cause the hostel to lose both its certification and “Taiwan Host” label, he said.
Information about such hostels will also be removed from the Web site containing information about all the certified operators.
In related news, the Directorate General of Highways (DGH) said bus operators would offer free services on 44 bus routes in Yilan County during the nine-day Lunar New Year holiday.
DGH Deputy Director-General Mile Chen (陳茂南) said the bus routes — operated by Kuo Kuang Motor Transportation, Capital Bus and Kamala Bus — passed through major scenic spots in Yilan County, including the Lanyang Museum and the Luodong Sports Park.
Chen said the service was part of measures adopted by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to ease congestion on National Freeway No. 5.