Visitors to national parks may have to start paying entrance fees of about NT$100 (US$3.30) by the end of the year, Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) said.
“We are planning to start charging a fee for entering national parks. The fee would be the same for foreign and domestic visitors, while local residents would be exempt,” Lee said
“The fee would likely be about NT$100, and disadvantaged groups will be given discounts. We have not settled on all details yet,” he added.
Lee said the ministry hopes that the new policy will help cut down the number of visitors to national parks, as large numbers of tourists visiting the parks are harmful to the environment and the ecology.
“The new policy is aimed at better protecting the nation’s ecosystem as well as the quality of visits to national parks,” he said.
Lee said the ministry would keep the fee at a reasonable price, adding that “an NT$100 entry fee is lower than most national park entry fees around the world. It’s even lower than the tariff for entering national parks in China — and we will probably have different fees and different ways of charging for different types of national parks.”
For instance, the Central Cross-Island Highway cuts through Taroko National Park, but it would not be feasible to charge everyone who passes through the highway an entry fee for the national park, Lee said.
For national parks featuring high mountains, “the fee would likely be included in the fee for entry permission,” Lee said.
In addition, charging entry fees could be a problem for Kenting National Park during the music festival season, as hundreds of thousands of concertgoers would be entering the national park, Lee said.