People traveling to North America could see package tour prices drop by NT$3,000 to NT$16,000 in the winter with a decrease in ticket prices and adjustments to tour arrangements, the Travel Quality Assurance Association said yesterday.
The association published a report of reasonable prices for tour packages for January to March, covering domestic tours, as well as packages for North America, Oceania, Southeast and Northeast Asia, Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere.
Prices for winter tours to the US west coast would decrease by NT$3,000 to NT$6,000 from the same period this year, while prices for Canada are to drop by NT$12,000 to NT$16,000, the report said.
China Airlines has launched a new service to Ontario, California, which would help lower ticket prices, it said.
Travel agencies previously arranged 10-day tours of Canada, but now have eight or nine-day tours instead, which would help reduce prices, it said.
Hotel prices are expected to decrease after the Christmas and New Year holidays, association spokesperson for North American tours Yen Chih-mei (顏智梅) said, adding that travel agencies are also offering many “early bird” deals.
Meanwhile, the depreciation of the Australian dollar and the New Zealand dollar mean tours there — summer tours for the same months — would be cheaper, the report said.
Tours to Australia are to cost NT$2,000 to NT$5,000 less than in the same period this year, while they are to drop by about NT$5,000 for New Zealand.
Although EVA Airways has increased the number of its weekly flights to Brisbane, Australia, from three to five and Air New Zealand has resumed direct flights to and from Taiwan, many of the services during the winter vacation and Lunar New Year holiday have been booked, the report said, adding that people are advised to join tours departing in off-peak periods.
However, people seeking short-haul trips in Southeast and Northeast Asia over the nine-day Lunar New Year break would in general have to pay more compared with the same time this year, it said.
Tours to Southeast Asian nations, including Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines, would cost NT$1,000 to NT$3,000 more, it said.
Even though the Thai government has waived fees for landing visas until Jan. 13, people in tour groups are not advised to use landing visas to enter, because they would have to wait in line for one or two hours, despite being able to fill in the application online, the report said.
A highlight for Southeast Asia is the reopening of Boracay Island after the Philippine government shut it down for six months to fix damage caused by tourists, it said.
Tours to Boracay would cost NT$1,000 to NT$ 4,000 more, as hoteliers and restauranteurs have to spend more than before to acquire an operator’s license, it said.
Tours to Chiang Mai in Thailand and Cebu in the Philippines would cost about NT$3,000 less because of new flights, it said.
Tours to Japan remain popular for Taiwanese, although they would have to pay NT$1,000 to NT$3,000 more in fees, as an increase in independent travelers has reduced seats available for group travelers, the report said.
Flights to Japan during the Lunar New Year holiday are almost full, except for tours to Hokkaido, the report said.
Increased flights from budget airlines have helped lower fees to South Korea, particularly to Jeju Island and Busan, which would cost only NT$10,000 to NT$20,000, it said.