Tue, Apr 23, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Ministry drafts park admission charges proposal

OVERLOAD:The proposal was drafted in response to complaints by local officials about damage, waste and traffic caused by high tourist numbers

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of the Interior has drafted a proposal on admission charges to national parks, aiming to introduce the measure in January next year.

“We’ve received many complaints from local governments and lawmakers that the overwhelming number of tourists visiting the national parks is causing problems. It’s not only damaging the ecosystem, but has also led to traffic jams and large amount of trash, which is why we’ve proposed charging for admission to the parks,” Deputy Minister of the Interior Hsiao Chia-chi (蕭家淇) said on Sunday.

“Since many highways pass through national parks, we don’t plan to charge everyone who enters national park premises; rather, we will charge visitors for entering certain locations within national parks,” Hsiao said.

“Of course, residents would be exempt from the admission fees,” he said.

According to a proposed plan sent to the legislature for review, visitors to designated locations within national parks will be charged an NT$100 entrance fee, cars NT$300 each, medium-sized buses NT$1,500 and large buses NT$3,000.

There will also be combination tickets and discounts for various categories of visitors, including students, police and military personnel, as well as people with disabilities.

The plan triggered criticism from the public when it was first revealed, with many people saying it does not make sense to charge citizens since it is taxpayers’ money that pays for the parks’ maintenance.

Hsiao said that while the plan is pending approval in the legislature, the ministry would continue to collect public feedback on the issue.

“Revenues from the fees will go to local and national park offices to help clean and preserve the ecology. The money will not be used for other purposes,” Hsiao said.

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