Thu, May 23, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Eighty percent of Kenting’s hotels illegal: MOI official

By Hsu Yi-ping and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

More than 80 percent of hotels and bed-and-breakfast lodgings in Kenting National Park in Pingtung County are operating illegally, according to a Ministry of the Interior (MOI) investigation.

Of the 369 hotels and bed-and-breakfast lodgings inside the park, 309 never completed the registration process to obtain a business license.

The probe was prompted by the recent uproar over the Yoho Beach Resort, which has been operating illegally for 14 years without environmental impact assessment approval.

According to a tally conducted at the end of 2011, there were 54 hotels with 16 or more rooms within the park in Hengchun Township (恆春), while there were 315 with less than 16 rooms, which are categorized as bed-and-breakfasts, a ministry official said.

“After checking with the Pingtung County Government, we found only nine hotels and 54 lodgings had completed the legal registration process needed to operate,” the official said.

Twenty-five of the illegal hotels could receive government supervision and guidance to amend their registration and complete the legalization process, he said, but the remainer were unlikely to receive approval.

Of the 54 legal bed-and-breakfast establishments, three had more than 16 rooms, a possible sign that they had underreported their room numbers during registration. Officials said the county government would conduct follow-ups to determine whether they should be fined.

“Fines will be imposed on these illegal operations according to the National Park Act (國家公園法), the Act for the Development of Tourism (發展觀光條例) and related laws. Wherever possible, government agencies will try to help them register and become a legal operation,” the official said.

“If there are any delays in these actions, then fines will be imposed. If these operations are illegal, then orders will be issued to tear them down,” he said.

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