Thu, Oct 04, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Bureau attributes lower occupancy to competition

‘GOLDEN WEEK’:While the number of Chinese tour group visitors has declined, more Chinese independent travelers are visiting Taiwan, the Tourism Bureau said

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The Tourism Bureau yesterday attributed the decline in occupancy rates at some hotels in Kenting during China’s National Day holiday to competition, with visitors favoring hotels that offer more amenities and an increase in accomodation options.

Many tourism operators see the seven-day Chinese holiday, also known as “Golden Week,” as the last opportunity this year to boost their business before Taiwan enters the off-peak travel season, as many Chinese are expected to use the holiday to travel abroad or visit families.

The bureau issued a statement after a media report quoting the manager of a hotel in Kenting National Park as saying that occupancy rates during the Golden Week, which started on Monday, might be 40 percent lower than a year earlier, due to the sharp drop in Chinese tourist numbers.

The bureau said that based on its investigation, the average occupancy rate among hotels and hostels in Kenting is estimated to be between 60 and 80 percent during the week.

Only some of the hoteliers have reported low occupancy rates, it added.

“The supply of hotels and accommodation in Kenting has been increasing in recent years. Travelers have a wider selection of hotels to choose from because each hotel differs from the other in terms of scale of operation and facilities available to customers. This explains the variance in occupancy rates among different hoteliers,” the bureau said.

People’s choice of accommodation is affected by many factors — from location to quality of facilities, said Tang Wen-chi (湯文琦), head of the bureau’s hotel and lodging division.

One of the hotels in Kenting that has a relatively higher occupancy rate told the bureau that a lot of its guests this week are independent Chinese travelers, Tang said.

Chinese tourists traveling with a tour group typically join an eight-day around-the-nation tour, Tang said, adding that they are more likely to stay in Kaohsiung or Taitung, rather than Kenting.

Unlike Chinese tourists, most Taiwanese do not have a holiday this week, she said.

Bureau Technical Affairs Division chief Liu Shih-ming (劉士銘) estimated that about 1,990 Chinese tourists are to arrive in Taiwan per day this week, down from approximately 2,300 per day a year earlier.

Liu further cited the statistics from the National Immigration Agency, which showed that from January to August, a total of 526,993 Chinese tourists traveling with tour groups visited Taiwan, down 0.48 percent from a year earlier.

In contrast, the number of independent Chinese travelers rose 1.67 percent to 702,171 during the same period, the figures showed.

“We have conveyed to Beijing that we are open to cross-strait tourism exchanges and welcome Chinese tourists to visit the nation,” the bureau said, adding that it would step up tourism marketing campaigns among independent Chinese travelers and assist tourism operators in transforming their business model.

The bureau said that it would also continue to diversify the nation’s sources of international tourists by developing the Southeast Asian tourism markets.

In other news, the nation is set to host the Asia Bird Fair in Chiayi County’s Budai Township (布袋) from Nov. 16 to Nov. 20.

About 150 conservation group representatives and bird-watching enthusiasts from 30 Asian countries are expected to attend.

Taiwan is a paradise for bird-watchers as it has recorded appearances of more than 600 bird species, 27 of which are endemic species.

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