Wed, Oct 02, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Holiday travel may not be affected by new law in China

Staff writer, with CNA

A new travel law China launched yesterday should have only a limited impact on the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan over China’s week-long National Day holiday that began yesterday, tourism insiders said.

“Statistics showed that interested Chinese tourists are not put off by higher travel fees under the new law,” said Chen Chiung-hua (陳瓊華), deputy head of the Tourism Bureau’s hotel, travel and training division.

Between 5,000 and 7,000 Chinese tourists have arrived per day during the first few days of the holiday week, about the same level as last year, according to bureau data.

Under China’s Tourism Law, travel groups are prohibited from luring tourists with low-priced tours and then making money by receiving commissions from shops to which they bring their tour groups or by requiring additional fees for certain services.

The law has already resulted in significant price hikes. A typical eight-day-seven-night tour package for tourists from southeastern China, for example, has risen to between 6,500 yuan (US1,092) and 7,000 yuan from the previous 3,000 yuan during the peak travel season.

The number of Chinese tourists arriving over the next week could fall 10 percent from the record 33,748 group tourists who visited between Sept. 30 and Oct. 7 last year, the Travel Agent Association of the Republic of China said.

“The price factor is not a major concern for those determined to take advantage of the long holiday break to travel,” association secretary-general Roget Hsu (許高慶) said.

Once the peak travel period ends, however, the new law could have a bigger impact, Hsu said, predicting that the local tourism sector could suffer a 30 to 50 percent decline in sales from the inbound Chinese tourist market by the end of the year.

The transitional period could last until Lunar New Year, when travel demand surges again, but both Chen and Hsu agreed that the new law will eventually benefit the cross-strait travel market.

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