Starting in April, the Tourism Bureau is to expand a subsidy program that offers NT$500 each to Taiwanese nationals traveling in pairs to Hualien for a weekday stay, in a continuation of its efforts to revive tourism in the county following a deadly magnitude 6.0 earthquake there in February.
From April 16, the bureau is to refund pairs who travel to Hualien for at least two nights from Monday to Thursday under its “3355” subsidy package, Minister of Transportation and Communications Hochen Tan (賀陳旦) said on Wednesday.
The program was launched on March 6 and offered a maximum of NT$500 per person as an accommodation subsidy to travelers visiting Hualien in tour groups of three to 19 people and staying at least two nights at a participating hotel.
The latest subsidy would be limited to weekday travel by two travelers to help spread out visits over the week, Hochen said.
The Feb. 6 earthquake killed 17 people, injured 291 and caused widespread infrastructure damage.
The bureau has allocated NT$5 million toward subsidies, but plans to raise the budget if it runs out before the end of June when the program expires, Hochen said.
Subsidies are available only to Taiwanese nationals and application details are available on the bureau’s Web site.
On Wednesday, the cruise ship Celebrity Millennium docked at the Port of Hualien — the first since the earthquake — and two more cruise liners are expected later this month, Taiwan International Ports Corp said.
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