Sat, Feb 15, 2020 - Page 2 News List

Virus Outbreak: Falling tour sales have led to more deals: association

By Cheng Wei-chi and Dennis Xie  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Travel Quality Assurance Association members pose for a group photograph at a news conference organized to report on foreign package tour pricing in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Cheng Wei-chi, Taipei Times

The Travel Quality Assurance Association yesterday published a report that included reference prices for overseas tour packages from April to June, saying that customers can preorder the discounted products while they are still on the market.

Due to COVID-19, tourism has declined, with many scheduled tours getting canceled, the association said.

However, the tourism sector is gearing up for a sales rebound, such as the one after the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic, and readying itself for the first peak travel season after COVID-19 is contained and diminishes, it said.

The second quarter is typically the peak season for groups traveling to Japan and with a weaker yen, prices for tours during that time are about NT$1,000 to NT$2,000 less than last year, association member Tsai Ching-hui (蔡錦惠) said.

The price of a five-day tour to Kyushu costs between NT$18,800 and NT$61,800; a five-day tour to Keihanshin — a metropolitan region encompassing the cities of Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe — between NT$26,800 and NT$57,800; and a four-day tour to Tokyo between NT$28,800 and NT$45,800, she said.

The prices of tours to South Korea are NT$500 to NT$1,000 cheaper than last year, she said, adding that a five-day tour to Seoul costs between NT$11,800 and NT$26,800, while a five-day tour to Busan or Jeju Island costs between NT$11,800 and NT$22,800.

A five-day tour to the Philippine islands of Boracay, Palawan or Cebu costs between NT$16,900 and NT$31,800, association member Hsiang Chien-lun (向健倫) said.

The prices of tours to Thailand in the second quarter are generally stable, with a five-day tour to Bangkok or Pattaya costing between NT$16,000 and NT$24,000, and a five-day tour to Chiang Mai between NT$19,000 and NT$31,000, he added.

The peak season for tours to the US and Canada starts in April, including popular destinations such as Yellowstone National Park and the Canadian icefields, association member Tsai Chia-hsuan (蔡佳璇) said.

The prices of US tours are NT$1,000 cheaper than last year, whereas tours to Canada are NT$5,000 to NT$10,000 more expensive, Tsai said.

US regulations on COVID-19 state that travelers who have visited China, Hong Kong or Macau must have papers showing that they were placed under home quarantine, but Taiwanese can obtain a certificate from the National Immigration Agency so that they can enter the US, Tsai said.

Many Taiwanese visit Europe in April, but the outbreak has sparked some negative reactions among Europeans toward Asians, prompting several travel agencies to offer special promotions, association member Hsiao Shih-hua (蕭世華) said.

Australia and New Zealand have been less affected by COVID-19 and Australia’s bushfires have been contained, association member Huang Hsien-tsai (黃賢在) said, adding that prices of tours to Australia are about NT$1,000 cheaper than last year, while tours to New Zealand are NT$2,000 cheaper.

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