The government has distributed more than NT$3.8 billion (US$135.36 million) in relief funds to travel agencies and hotel operators since the Central Epidemic Command Center in the middle of May raised the nationwide COVID-19 alert to level 3, the Tourism Bureau said yesterday.
The government introduced a relief fund for the tourism industry following a meeting with representatives of business associations on May 14, the bureau said.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) instructed government agencies to quickly distribute funds to businesses affected by the tightened disease prevention measures, it added.
As of Monday, 2,253 travel agencies had applied for emergency funds to cover salaries and business losses, the bureau said.
It said that NT$680 million, or 95 percent of the funds earmarked for travel agencies, had been distributed to 2,150 firms nationwide.
It said that NT$3.19 billion had been distributed to more than 10,000 hoteliers and bed-and-breakfast operators.
The deadline for relief fund applications is Friday next week, it said.
In addition to providing relief funding, the bureau revised financing rules for firms in the industry, including raising the credit line for hoteliers, travel agencies and amusement park operators to NT$50 million.
The credit line for small-scale loans was also raised to NT$30 million, it said.
Bed-and-breakfast operators would be eligible for up to NT$20 million in funding loans and up to NT$10 million in small-scale loans, in addition to a one-year subsidy on interest incurred from working fund loans, the bureau said.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs offers a maximum credit line of NT$500 million for firms in the tourism industry that are not categorized as small or medium-sized businesses, the bureau said, adding that they can also apply for reduced electricity fees and deferred payments.
The ministry also has relief programs for restaurateurs and factories offering guided tours to visitors, the bureau said.
While 66 travel agencies have ceased operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, 177 new firms have entered the market since last year, bureau data showed.
“This shows that some business operators are eyeing opportunities after the pandemic,” the bureau said.
The bureau has requested that travel industry workers be prioritized for vaccination to prepare the industry for increased business after the level 3 alert is eased, it said.
A survey published by Airbnb yesterday showed that more than 60 percent of people said their motivation for getting vaccinated is to be able to travel again.
A video allegedly featuring retired general Kao An-kuo (高安國) calling on Taiwanese military officers to surrender to China and overthrow the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government has sparked outrage and calls for him to be charged with treason. The video, titled “A message to Taiwanese military officers,” allegedly shows Kao saying: “I call on commanding officers of our military troops to stand up for Chinese nationalism, to take up this duty under heaven’s mandate to save Taiwanese from oppression and terrible suffering.” Dressed in military fatigues and a beret, the lieutenant general called on officers to overthrow the “fraudulent DPP regime,”
‘NOT IMPOSSIBLE’: Acceptance to the UN would end the nation’s troubles, but it would be impossible to achieve without US backing, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun said The US might recognize Taiwan if war breaks out in the Taiwan Strait, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) said yesterday while discussing politics with former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). Speaking on Chen’s program on Smile Radio, You reminisced about his agrarian childhood, studies, the founding of the Democratic Progressive Party in 1986 and his eight years as Yilan County commissioner. Chen’s appointment of You as premier in February 2002 marked several firsts, as he was Taiwan’s youngest premier, as well as the first from a farming background and first democratically elected county leader to hold the office. Asked to share his views on
ONLY EXCEPTIONS: The mayors of the two largest cities voiced concerns over hidden cases, while all other local governments are to follow eased CECC guidelines All local governments, with the exception of Taipei and New Taipei City, are to allow dine-in services at restaurants after the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday announced that it would on Tuesday lower a nationwide COVID-19 alert to level 2. The center on July 8 allowed the resumption of dining at restaurants nationwide — despite keeping the alert level at 3. At the time, this prompted all cities and counties, except Penghu Country, to keep local dine-in bans in place. Following Friday’s CECC announcement that COVID-19 prevention measures would be further relaxed, the Taipei and New Taipei City governments
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday rejected the claim Beijing has been making about Taiwan’s status, while thanking US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman for raising concerns about Taiwan during her meeting with Chinese officials. Sherman met with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) on a visit to Tianjin on Sunday and Monday, with Wang urging Washington not to infringe on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Taiwan is part of China, a fundamental fact that would never change, and China has the right to take any action needed to restrain Taiwanese independence, Wang said, urging Washington to abide