Travel firms eye US visa-waiver program ahead of fair

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Oct 18, 2012 - Page 3

Taiwan’s inclusion in the US visa-waiver program has motivated travel agents to offer more promotional tours to visitors at the International Travel Fair, which is scheduled to begin on Friday next week.

The four-day fair will be held in Exhibition Hall 1 and Hall 3 of the Taipei World Trade Center. The fair has attracted travel industry representatives from 60 countries and there will be 1,000 booths on display.

While the fair does not open until next week, travel agents are already eager to reveal their plans.

Because Taiwan’s US visa-waiver status will officially come into effect on Nov. 1, some travel agencies are already offering a nine-day tour of the west coast of the US for about NT$40,000, including tax, although the special offer is only available to a limited number of people. Other tours to northeast Asia and Europe are also being offered at discounted prices.

Those interested in purchasing coupons for special offers at hotels or restaurants will also be able to find them at the fair. Some of the coupons provide customers with up to 50 percent discounts on their hotel accommodation costs.

The Travel Quality Assurance Association said customers need to pay attention to important details when they purchase tours at the fair, including the dates of departure and the minimum number of the tourists needed to form a group. Any special clause between the customer and the travel agent must be clearly stated in the contract, it said.

When purchasing coupons for hotels and restaurants, customers are advised to check when the special offer expires. They must also check if they need to pay extra costs when they use the coupons, the association said.