The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday defended its decision not to raise its travel advisory for Thailand’s capital, until Tuesday, saying it has been closely monitoring the situation in Bangkok following Monday evening’s explosion near a popular shrine.
“Decisions on travel advisory levels to be issued for a particular area are based on the ministry’s guidelines and a comprehensive assessment of all the relevant factors,” ministry spokesperson Eleanor Wang (王珮玲) said.
Such an alert is merely advisory in nature and there is no direct relationship between an alert and any contracts the public might have signed with travel agencies, Wang said.
Some Taiwanese who have booked trips to Bangkok have complained that the late upgrade of the travel alert has hindered their appeals to travel agencies to have their tickets refunded.
The ministry maintained its yellow travel advisory for Bangkok — which advises travelers to exercise caution and to review the need to travel to the affected area — in the first 24 hours after a blast killed at least 20 people and injured more than 120 others.
The ministry upgraded to an orange alert — the second-highest in its four-color alert system — for the city late on Tuesday evening. An orange advisory warns travelers to exercise caution and to avoid traveling to the affected areas if possible.
Wang said the ministry had many consultations with the Tourism Bureau over the establishment of a set of standardized criteria for the refund of fees for bookings by tourists planning to travel as part of a tour group.
“If such criteria were in place, the public would have a clearer basis for applying for a refund” Wang said.
She added that the personal and property safety of travelers were the ministry’s primary concerns, dismissing accusations of a slow response.
According to Article 28-1 of the Standardized Contract for Overseas Tours (國外旅遊定型化契約書範本), a contract can be canceled in the event that, prior to departure, there is a real and recognized risk to tourists’ life, limb, health or property in one of the scheduled destinations of the tour.
However, the party canceling the contract should pay compensation of no more than 5 percent of the tour price to the other party.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up