More than 300 hostels received certifications as hospitable establishments from the Tourism Bureau yesterday, with the owners collectively pledging to offer clean and friendly accommodations to tourists.
The certification program is part of the bureau’s plan to ensure that hostels provide quality services to customers. Chen Yu-chuan (陳煜川), director of the bureau’s hotel inspection and supervision center, said the nation has a total of 3,343 legal hostel operators, and 711 signed up to take a pre-certification course last year. Only 323 were eventually certified and awarded a “Taiwan Host (好客民宿)” plaque by the bureau.
“We had informed them [hostel operators] in the pre-certification course on how the certification program worked so that they could decide if they wanted to be certified,” Chen said.
Hostels that have records of major violations or have earned complaints from customers were eliminated from the list, Chen said.
The bureau took about a year to finish all evaluations, Chen said, adding that it expected more hostels to be certified by the end of this year.
Asked why other hostels have not applied for certification, Chen said they either did not trust the bureau’s program or they can thrive without being certified.
“Our focus is on marketing the nation’s hostels to the world,” he said, adding that the bureau would soon build a portal site to all the nation’s hotels and hostels.
Chen said the certification is valid for three years. Should customers file a complaint against any one of the certified hostels, the bureau would ask the operator to explain and address the problem. If the operator fails to make improvements after repeated warnings, the bureau can revoke its status and publicize the result, he said.
Other than accommodations, most of the hostels offer other perks to attract customers. Some offer cultural, historical or eco-guided tours, while others allow guests to pick vegetables on an organic farm or make ramen noodles by hand.
According to the bureau, more than 6 million international tourists visited the nation last year.
Tourism Bureau Deputy Director-General Chang Shi-chung (張錫聰) said the bureau expects foreign tourist numbers to top 7 million this year.
“Our survey shows that tourists from abroad were mostly impressed by the friendliness and passion of the people of Taiwan,” Chang said.