Sun, Nov 12, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Officials propose statutes to regulate campgrounds

ENFORCEMENT:An anonymous official said personnel constraints and the remoteness of most campgrounds makes it difficult to detect their illegal development

By Hsiao Yu-hsin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Tourism Bureau on Tuesday said it has proposed including camping under the Act for the Development of Tourism (發展觀光條例) to provide a legal basis for the regulation of campgrounds due to their sudden proliferation.

While there are legal campgrounds, concentrated mostly in national parks or farming resorts, there has been a sharp increase in the number of questionable operations, the bureau said.

As the number of campers in the nation has grown to 2 million, many business owners have been attempting to profit off the trend, it added.

Some businesses have occupied and developed national land, despite their designations as areas susceptible to mudslides and landslides, the bureau said.

Through the proposed statutes, the bureau said it hopes to create regulations for the establishment of campgrounds, as well as related issues.

One such issue is regulating disputes with campers, although whether the statutes would mandate that camping ground operators use a formulaic contract has not been determined.

Disputes have stemmed from a variety of management styles, with some campground operators providing nothing but land on which to camp and charging no fees, while others require users to pay for various services, the bureau said.

Whether campground owners would be forced to take out insurance for campers remains up for debate, the bureau said, adding that other issues, such as refunds, should also be considered.

While it is possible to trace jurisdiction for certain campgrounds to local governments, upholding the law would be the most difficult element, said a government official, who asked not to be named.

Personnel constraints make it difficult to catch illegal developers and most campgrounds are in remote areas, meaning it would require a tip-off for an investigation, the official said.

Ultimately, it would be up to local governments to handle how regulations are implemented and to decide which fines would be levied against those breaking the law, the official said, adding that existing fines have not created a sufficient deterrent for the illegal development of campgrounds.

The requisite amendments to the act that would allow the proposed statutes ensure that any legislative deliberation on the issue cannot occur before next year, the bureau said.

However, in the meantime, the bureau said it would consult local governments and inform them of key points of the proposed regulations so that they can inform campers and business of which campgrounds are legal.

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