Sat, Sep 26, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Tour group routes need to be monitored, DPP says

By Kan Chih-chi and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Tourism Bureau has come under criticism from opposition lawmakers for allowing Chinese tourists to disregard regulations requiring them to stick to routes submitted to the government prior to arrival in Taiwan.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yeh Yi-chin (葉宜津) said that tour groups often add shopping stops to their itineraries at the last minute.

Large tour buses are violating standing regulations prohibiting buses from visiting mountainous areas, such as Lugu township (鹿谷) in Nantou County, Yeh said.

GPS data shows there have been 10 buses in the Lugu area since June.

The Directorate-General of Highways’ cloud servers store GPS data from Chinese tour buses, which also shows 99 percent of the tour buses have deviated from the itinerary routes, Yeh said, adding that the Tourism Bureau needs to follow up on details.

Tourism Bureau official Lai Ping-jung (賴炳榮) said the bureau found nearly 487 illegal destinations in travel itinearies submitted to the government from January to September this year, adding that in 143 of those cases fines have been issued.

Most of the incidents include unreported changes to travel plans, arranging for tourists to stay at unapproved hotels and exceeding the quota of shopping centers stops allowed, Lai said, adding that some cases were noted as infractions, several travel agencies were ordered to suspended business and others had their licenses revoked for not paying fines.

Directorate-General of Highways director Chao Hsing-hua (趙興華) said that if aware which roads were off-limits to buses, it would issue fines against companies breaking the law.

Lai said that at present, travel plans submitted by Chinese tour groups do not indicate which route are to be taken on their journey.

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