Travel agencies and hoteliers are anticipating that pent-up demand for travel would spur sharp revenue growth after Taiwan reopens its borders to inbound and outbound travelers on Oct. 13.
The Executive Yuan on Thursday announced that on Oct. 13 it would further relax entry rules to include countries or territories with which Taiwan does not have visa-waiver agreements and end the quarantine requirement for visitors, with a weekly cap on the number of inbound visitors set at 150,000.
To capitalize on the reopening, Lion Travel Service Co (雄獅旅遊) in a statement on Thursday said that it had rolled out tours to Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia, North America and Europe, in addition to free visa applications for people on non-discount tours.
Lion Travel spokeswoman Lai Yi-ching (賴一青) said that Japan was the most popular destination for tour groups and the company had secured about 30,000 tickets for China Airlines Ltd (中華航空) and TigerAir Taiwan Ltd (台灣虎航) chartered flights to the nation.
Some popular upcoming attractions for tours in Japan include skiing, hot springs and New Year’s Eve events, she said, adding that many people have inquired about prices for trips during the Lunar New Year holiday in January next year.
Phoenix Tours International Inc (鳳凰國際旅行社) forecast that tourism revenue this quarter would rebound to 50 to 60 percent of pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.
The revival of the tourism industry would likely be a gradual process, taking six months to a year, Phoenix Tours International said in a statement.
Cola Tour (可樂旅遊) said in a statement that more than 10,000 people have purchased tours since it rolled out discounts on Thursday last week when the Cabinet announced plans to reopen the borders, with the US, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Singapore being the most popular destinations.
KKday, a company selling local package tours and tickets to overseas tourist attractions, said in a statement that flight ticket sales for foreign destinations had increased by 80 percent, with Japan being the most popular destination.
In addition, it has developed numerous local tours in anticipation of a rise in tourist arrivals, hoping the number of foreign visitors would double next year, KKday said.
The Silks Hotel Group (晶華酒店集團) said in a statement that before the pandemic began in early 2020, 85 percent of Regent Taipei hotel’s revenue had come from foreign visitors.
After the government closed the borders, the hotelier had to introduce deals to attract local guests, but that only boosted its revenue to 40 to 50 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels, the group said.
The reopening is expected to spur a gradual increase in the number of foreign guests to match that of local guests, as next month and December is a peak period for arrivals, it said.
The Fleur De Chine Hotel (雲品酒店) expressed similar views in a statement.
The Courtyard by Marriott Hotel (萬怡酒店) said in a statement that the lifting of border controls would provide much-needed relief after a long dry spell, while touting its location in the same building in Taipei as Nangang MRT Station, the High Speed Rail’s Nangang Station and the Taiwan Railways Administration’s Nangang Station.
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