Tue, Nov 14, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Transport minister vows to study merits of exit tax

‘NOT MOVING AHEAD’:Taiwan still has the same travel destination ranking it had 10 years ago, while Japan and South Korea moved up significantly, the minister said

By Hsiao Yu-hsin and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Minister of Transportation and Communications Hochen Tan (賀陳旦) yesterday said he will prepare a report within three months on the feasibility of introducing an exit tax at the border.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀) called for the tax during a meeting of the the Legislative Yuan’s Transportation Committee yesterday, citing a similar tax that is to be implemented in Japan.

Chen said Japan expects its exit tax will earn it ¥40 billion (US$352.9 million) in annual revenue, adding that he hopes Hochen will follow through with the implementation of an exit tax in Taiwan.

The decision to collect an exit tax would require further evaluation of the proposal, Hochen said.

Japan is to charge outbound travelers, both its citizens and foreign travelers, ¥1,000 at its borders beginning in 2019, Chen said.

Exit taxes are in place in several nations, Chen said, citing NT$21.2 billion (US$702.22 million) collected annually by Australia and NT$6.9 billion collected annually by South Korea.

The taxes help the development of tourism in those nations, he said.

Outbound passengers in Taiwan pay a NT$500 airport service fee, of which a portion goes into a tourism development fund, Hochen said.

The nation’s tourism industry this year saw a decline in tourist numbers for the first time in 14 years, he said.

So far there has been a decline of 230,000 inbound tourists this year from last year, he said, adding that the nation has been ranked No. 30 among worldwide travel destinations by the World Economic Forum.

“It is the same ranking we held 10 years ago. We are not moving ahead,” he said.

Japan moved up from No. 25 a decade ago to No. 4 this year, while South Korea moved up from No. 42 to No. 19 during the same period, Hochen said.

Taiwan must return to the fundamentals and think about how to improve the quality of the tourism industry, he said.

This would work better for the industry than trying to think of how to bring in more tourists from China, Hochen said.

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