Tue, Jun 12, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Hoteliers to rally against illegal short-stay rentals

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

Hundreds of legal hoteliers from across the nation are scheduled to rally at Taipei Railway Station this morning to protest against short-stay apartments, which are currently illegal in Taiwan.

Hotel operators are scheduled to attend a news conference organized by the Tourism Bureau, at which they plan to endorse the government’s efforts to crack down on illegal hoteliers, before staging a protest at the railway station against illegal operators.

Members of hotel associations throughout Taiwan are expected to attend the rally, Hotel Association of ROC chairman Chang Jung-nan (張榮南) said.

The nation has welcomed more than 10 million international tourists per year since it began targeting tourists from Southeast Asian countries, according to the Tourism Bureau, Chang said.

However, the average hotel occupancy rate has been steadily declining due to many tourists now staying at short-stay apartments, Chang said, adding that the association estimates that the industry has suffered an annual financial loss of NT$30 billion (US$1 billion) because of illegal operators.

“They do not pay taxes and they work with Internet platform operators to compete with us,” he said. “Many legal hoteliers are about to go out of business.”

“We will not protest against the Tourism Bureau. Rather, we will protest against the illegal operators and ask the Tourism Bureau to step up its efforts to shut them down,” he added. “There is no way that legal and illegal operators can coexist and thrive together.”

Hotel operators would gather at the Cosmos Hotel Taipei to discuss what actions they can take against such tactics, Chang said.

Minister of Transportation and Communications Hochen Tan (賀陳旦) also commented on their appeal yesterday, saying that the practices of traditional industries, such as hotels, are changing, requiring cooperation among different parties.

“Currently, short-stay apartments are illegal. In the long run, we should consider the possibility of forming partnerships among different accommodation service operators,” he said.

Even though Japan is forcing Airbnb to remove all home-sharing listings that do not meet lawful criteria, Hochen said the Japanese government hopes that home-sharing operators could coexist with hotel operators.

“Technically, we do need to enforce the laws to help some of the operators run legal operations, but we also hope that existing hotel operators look at this as an opportunity for possible partnerships,” he said.

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