Wed, Dec 03, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Winter holidays still tough on wallet

COLD NEWS:Travelers thinking of taking advantage of a weaker yen might find their winter holiday options not as cheap as they might have hoped, a travel association said

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The price of tours to Japan is set to remain high during the winter vacation period, despite the depreciation of the yen, a report from the Travel Quality Assurance Association published yesterday showed.

In consultations with nearly all the nation’s travel agencies, the organization releases figures for reasonable prices for overseas and domestic tours before each season begins.

The latest report showed that though the price for tour groups to Japan would generally drop by between NT$1,000 and NT$3,000 for the period from next month to March compared with the same time last year, people could expect an increase of NT$1,000 to NT$5,000 during the winter school break, the Lunar New Year holiday and 228 Memorial Day holiday.

Sindy Lin (林怡君), who researches the tourism market in the Northeast Asian region for the association, said the depreciation of the Japanese currency has allowed consumers to buy items such as Japanese skin care products at a lower price, but it would not lower the costs of group tours in Japan during the winter vacation.

“The cost of accommodation, transport and tickets to tourist attractions are on the rise in Japan now because of the rapid increase in tourists from Southeast Asian countries due to the visa-waiver program,” Lin said.

According to the association, the price of tour groups to Japan during the Lunar New Year holiday are higher than last year, because the airlines increase flights only to certain airports, limiting the number of seats available.

Because the Lunar New Year holiday next year is only six days, the association said visitors leaving during the holiday could expect higher tour prices because of limited places.

Meanwhile, the report also showed that costs for winter tours in Southeast Asian nations or in China are about the same as last year.

Tours of the west coast of the US and Canada would drop by between NT$3,000 and NT$12,000, whereas tours on the east coast would decrease by between NT$8,000 and NT$16,000, the association said.

Though New Zealand and Australia would be in their peak travel season during the period, the association’s report showed that tours to Australia would cost NT$3,000 less compared with last year, due to the slight depreciation of the Australian dollar.

The association said the same reason also caused tours to New Zealand to cost NT$9,000 less than last year.

However, people planning to travel to Europe or South Africa would need to pay more, the association said.

The price for a group tour to Europe would rise by between NT$1,000 and NT$5,000, whereas tours to South Africa would cost NT$6,000 to NT$8,000 more than last year, the association said.

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