Wed, Dec 19, 2018 - Page 2 News List

Tourism Bureau subsidy program to be extended

RETURN ON INVESTMENT:The agency said the project would help generate NT$5.5 billion in additional tourism benefits while costing the government NT$980 million

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Tourism Bureau Director-General Joe Chou yesterday announces during a news conference in Taipei plans to expand winter travel subsidies to 19 cities and counties between Jan. 1 and Jan. 31.

Photo: Hsiao Yu-hsin, Taipei Times

The Tourism Bureau yesterday announced that it would expand a winter travel subsidy program to include a total of 19 cites and counties, saying that it has proven effective at boosting domestic tourism.

The bureau last month launched the program, which currently subsidizes travel to Yilan, Hualien, Taitung and Pingtung counties, as well as Kaohsiung.

The program has provided more than NT$300 million (US$9.72 million) in subsidies to tourists heading to any of those five areas, the bureau said.

As the program has proven successful at motivating domestic tourism, the bureau said that it would not only continue its implementation, but also add 14 other cities and counties.

Only three of the nation’s cities are to be excluded from the program: Taipei, Hsinchu City and Taoyuan.

The program is expected to generate tourism benefits totaling NT$2.8 billion by the end of this year, bureau Director-General Chou Yung-hui (周永暉) said.

The bureau is to extend the program until the end of next month, Chou said, adding that the government would spend NT$980 million funding it.

“We have taken into consideration that nearly 91 percent of domestic travelers take one-day tours, so the program aims to encourage more people to go on more in-depth local tours, particularly in cities and counties that have over the past three years had an average hotel occupancy rate of less than 50 percent,” Chou said.

Extending the program would help create additional tourism benefits totaling NT$5.5 billion, he said.

While tourists older than 60 would continue to receive greater subsidies, the extended program would also raise the subsidies for travelers aged 30 or younger, as well as parents with young children, he added.

The program would apply to package tours, as well as independent travelers, a bureau presentation showed.

Tours must be at least two days long, with up to one day on a holiday, for travel agencies to be able to apply for a tour group subsidy. Each person in the group would be entitled to a NT$500 daily subsidy, while those older than 60 would receive a NT$1,000 subsidy.

Group subsidies are capped at NT$30,000 for tours on Taiwan proper and NT$50,000 for tours to outlying islands.

The majority of the program’s funding — about NT$880 million — would be used to subsidize independent travelers, the bureau said.

To qualify for a subsidy, travelers must arrange tours that take place between Sunday and Thursday in the areas included in the program.

Each independent traveler is to receive a NT$1,000 subsidy per hotel room, while young travelers, those older than 60 and parents with young children would receive NT$1,500 per person.

Taoyuan Hotel Association chairman Chen Ying-rui (陳盈瑞) criticized the exemption of the three cities from the program, calling it a punishment for their quality hoteliers.

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