The government aims to have 20 million international visitors per year by 2030, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said yesterday, adding that the goal would be achieved by upgrading the Tourism Bureau to become the tourism administration.
The ministry has identified three main factors that are to affect the tourism industry this year, including strikes organized by unions representing China Airlines and EVA Airways employees, China’s suspension of independent travel to Taiwan this month and curtailing of travelers to Taiwan on tour groups next month, and pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, Lin told reporters at a luncheon in Taipei.
The ministry would implement a program next month to subsidize domestic travelers for fall and winter tours, part of its strategy to boost domestic tourism, Lin said.
Photo: Cheng Wei-chi, Taipei Times
With the decline in cross-strait visitors, the ministry also plans to draw more international visitors by waiving visa requirements under certain conditions for visitors from Southeast Asian nations and other measures, he said.
The ministry would find ways to help tour operators facing financial difficulties due to the decrease in Chinese travelers, he said.
The winter and spring travel subsidies that were implemented in the first half of this year helped raise occupancy rates at international hotels and resorts, regular hotels, and bed and breakfasts, the ministry said.
They rose 7.1 percent, 11.9 percent and 31.3 percent respectively compared with the same period last year, it said.
The Tourism Bureau should quickly be upgraded to an administration, Lin said.
“We are striving to become one of the world’s top tourist destinations, but the agency that we have is not up to the task. Once it has been upgraded, the budget and personnel that it can appropriate would increase, which will help advertise the nation in the international community,” he said.
The bureau’s personnel structure has not changed for 30 years, he said.
With its budget, it cannot afford to hire additional staff or send more people to its overseas branches, he said.
Almost half of the bureau’s annual budget goes to maintaining tourism facilities in national scenic areas, which leaves it with hardly any money to fund tourism campaigns, Lin said.
“We have suggested that the government have a separate fund to maintain tourism facilities, with funding for the bureau to be used to promote Taiwan as a tourist destination,” he said.
“We hope that the Legislative Yuan would pass an organizational act for a tourism administration in the next legislative session,” he said, adding that lawmakers across party lines have shown support for the change.
The ministry this year is to present a white paper titled Taiwan Tourism 2030, which would outline its tourism plans, Lin said.
It would also outline plans for a national tourism conference to hear thoughts from tourism service providers, he said.
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