Sun, Dec 02, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Hoteliers see occupancy rise on back of subsidies

HOT BUSINESS:One resort reported seeing a 30 percent increase in bookings by the end of last month, while one hotelier said the paperwork was overburdening their staff

By Tsai Tsung-hsien and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Tourism Bureau’s promotion of winter travel to the warmer southern counties and cities has been successful, hoteliers said.

Hoteliers have reported an increase in bookings of about 30 percent at hotels in Pingtung, Taitung and Hualien counties, as well as in Kaohsiung, and have said they hope the subsidies could continue next year, the bureau said.

The bureau launched the subsidies at the start of last month and is offering them until the end of this month.

Groups of two or more travelers can apply to the bureau for NT$1,000 toward the cost of accommodation and another NT$1,000 toward transportation costs.

Those traveling with people older than 60 can apply for an additional NT$500, the bureau said.

Minister of Transportation and Communications Wu Hong-mo (吳宏謀), who oversees the bureau, said there is no upper limit on the payments, with NT$100 million (US$3.24 million) paid out to date.

The bureau said it is considering expanding the subsidies to other counties, citing the success of the campaign, with calls from legislators to cover Yunlin, Chiayi and Nantou counties.

The possibility of making subsidies available for destinations nationwide is being considered as well, they said.

As December has already started, any changes to the campaign would take effect next year, the bureau said, adding that it is still working out the details.

Howard Beach Resort Kenting manager Chang Chi-kuang (張積光) said that his resort saw a 20 percent increase in bookings immediately after the subsidies went into effect last month.

By the end of last month, that number rose to 30 percent, he said.

Such a number of bookings would normally be unheard of during the low season, he said, adding that the influx boosted the wider local economy, benefiting car rental services, restaurants, souvenir shops, entertainment venues and other local businesses.

Another hotelier, who asked to remain anonymous, said that while the subsidies have benefited their business, the submission of photocopies of documents and travelers’ personal information to the government to request the subsidies has been a burden on hotel staff.

They said they hope the bureau could simplify the process next year.

Resorts including Howard and Caesar Park have offered additional discounts on top of the subsidies in a bid to draw visitors to Kenting during the winter.

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