Sat, Dec 01, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Tour prices to rise during Lunar New Year: report

PAY MORE:Visa fees to the US may have been waived, but travelers are expected to shell out up to NT$7,000 more as tour prices increase in the first quarter of 2013

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

People planning to travel overseas during the Lunar New Year holiday may have to spend more on tours this time as a report from a travel agents’ association showed that prices for nearly all group tours would rise in the first quarter of next year.

The Lunar New Year holiday next year starts on Feb. 9 and runs through Feb. 17.

The Travel Quality Assurance Association yesterday released estimated group tour prices from January to March next year. Except for tours to Japan, tours to China, as well as countries in Southeast Asia, North America, South Asia and Europe, would all increase.

The association said prices for tours to Japan during the holiday may drop by NT$1,000 to NT$5,000 compared with the same time last year because of the yen’s depreciation. Airline companies have also increased the number of flights to some Japanese cities, driving down prices, it said.

Although Taiwan has been added to the US’ Visa Waiver Program, that does not automatically translate into a decrease in group tour prices. The association’s report showed that prices for tours in the US west coast during the Lunar New Year holiday may rise by NT$3,000 to NT$7,000 compared with last year, while those heading to the US east coast may see an increase of NT$1,000 to NT$3,000. Tours to Guam, a US territory, may also cost about NT$2,000 to NT$3,000 more than last year.

Those planning to visit western Canada may see prices rise by NT$8,000 to NT$20,000 due to the increase in airplane fares, while those touring eastern Canada may have to pay about NT$3,000 more.

As for those heading to China, the association said the revaluation of the Chinese yuan, rising oil prices and inflation have increased the operating costs of cross-strait direct flights. China is also celebrating the Lunar New Year, reducing the availability of flight tickets. The association said group tours to China may see an increase in prices from NT$3,000 to NT$10,000.

Prices for European tours may rise by NT$3,000 to NT$5,000 compared with the same period last year. Tours to South Africa, New Zealand and Australia would also cost more next year, according to the association, with travelers to South Africa expected to see an increase of NT$6,000 to NT$8,000, while those visiting Australia and New Zealand may have to pay about NT$3,000 more.

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