The Tourism Bureau yesterday released the details of its fall and winter domestic travel subsidy program, which is expected to generate more than NT$25.6 billion (US$821 million) for the tourism industry.
The announcement came one day after Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said that the Executive Yuan would budget NT$3.6 billion for the program in response to China’s suspension of a program that allowed individual tourists from 47 cities to travel to Taiwan, which took effect yesterday.
The move was a tactic to interfere in the presidential election in January next year, Lin said.
Tourism operators estimated that it could result in a loss of 500,000 to 700,000 tourists from China in the next six months.
The bureau said its winter and spring travel subsidy programs last year boosted the hotel occupancy rate and proved effective in encouraging more people to travel in Taiwan.
The bureau said that this year it would subsidize tour groups as well as individuals.
For tour groups visiting any one of the towns recommended by the bureau, each member would receive up to NT$500 per day.
The subsidy for each group, which must consist of at least 10 people, would be capped at NT$30,000. Each travel agency can have no more than 20 tour groups subsidized by the government.
However, if a tour group books star-rated hotels, visits farms or factories that are open to tourists, or has travelers who are 60 or older, the subsidy for each group would be capped at NT$50,000, provided that there are more than 15 people in the group.
For tour groups visiting the nation’s outlying islands or traveling for more than two days, each person would be given NT$1,000 per day. The total subsidy for each tour group would be capped at NT$70,000.
Individuals traveling without a tour group would receive NT$1,000 per hotel room, provided they are traveling between Sunday and Friday. Each person would be able use the benefit one time.
However, if they are traveling to the outlying islands, they can use the benefit two times on any day of the week.
Children under 12 would be able to visit an amusement park once free of charge, as the bureau would offer a subsidy of NT$350, with the amusement park operator making up the difference.
The program would spend NT$50 million to sponsor promotional events organized by travel associations and amusement parks, but the fund for each event would be capped at NT$1 million.
The program is to run from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31, the bureau said.
The program is estimated to motivate about 7.68 million people to travel in the nation, which would generate NT$25.6 billion in tourism benefits, it said.
Of the NT$3.6 billion to fund the program, NT$1.8 billion would come from the Tourism Development Fund and the rest would be provided by the Executive Yuan, the bureau said.
It is the largest travel subsidy the Tourism Bureau has ever offered.
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