A tourism program that would offer cash incentives to foreign nationals to visit Taiwan is scheduled to begin on April 15, but many aspects of the plan have not been finalized, Tourism Bureau Deputy Director-General Trust Lin (林信任) said yesterday.
The bureau plans to distribute 500,000 NT$5,000 vouchers to foreign nationals visiting Taiwan if they meet certain criteria, such as arriving individually and not as part of a tour group, Lin told a news conference to mark Travel Safety Awareness Week, which begins tomorrow.
The vouchers might be distributed through a lottery system, but the specifics are being discussed, Lin said.
Photo: Ting Yi, Taipei Times
It was also unclear whether business travelers would be eligible, or if the vouchers would only go to leisure travelers, he added.
Visitors would be able to use the vouchers — which could take the form of a stored-value card or other medium — for hotels, shopping, transportation and dining, the bureau previously said.
The bureau said it plans to also award travel agencies NT$10,000 for every tour group of eight to 14 travelers it brings to Taiwan, and NT$20,000 for larger groups, with up to 90,000 tour groups expected to receive a subsidy.
Taiwan is hoping to attract 6 million overseas visitors this year, the bureau said.
Lin said that by the end of this month, about 1 million foreign visitors are expected to have arrived in Taiwan since January.
In the three years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan averaged about 11.2 million overseas visitors per year, but those numbers plummeted to about 1.38 million in 2020, 141,000 in 2021 and 895,000 last year, including 302,100 in December.
Separately, Lin also urged the public to use only legal campsites when spending the night outdoors during their travels.
About 1,500 illegal campsites exist in Taiwan, although the bureau is working with operators to bring them up to code, he said.
Ten percent of each hectare of farmland or forest can be used as campground, but the area must not overlap with environmentally sensitive areas, the bureau said.
Local governments have been asked to search for illegal campsites and impose fines of NT$60,000 that can be repeatedly issued on operators who fail to comply, it added.
Additional reporting by Ting Yi
SAFETY IN REGULATION: The proposal states that Chiayi should assess whether it is viable to establish such a district and draft rules to protect clients and sex workers The Chiayi City Council passed a motion yesterday to assess the viability of establishing a regulated red-light district. The council yesterday held its last session of the year, at which its fiscal 2024 budget was approved, along with 61 other proposals. The proposal to assess the viability of establishing a red-light district was put forward by independent Chiayi City Councilor Molly Yen (顏色不分藍綠支持性專區顏色田慎節). The proposal cited 2011 amendments to the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), which stipulate that city and county governments can pass autonomous regulations on the sex trade to manage the industry and guarantee industry workers’ rights. A ban on the
STABILITY AND CHANGE: Flagging in recent polls, Ko this week pledged to maintain President Tsai’s foreign policy, with an emphasis on improving China relations Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday reiterated that he is “deep-green at heart” in response to accusations that he is pivoting his campaign to align closer with the ideology of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the face of flagging polls. Ko made the remark at an agricultural policy conference in Taipei, repeating his comments from an interview with CTS News a day earlier. Ko told the CTS host that he would continue to pursue President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) national defense and foreign policy in general, but with an emphasis on establishing a rapport with
CHINA illness surge: Of 88 travelers from China, Hong Kong and Macau with respiratory symptoms who were encouraged to get tested upon arrival, 70.6% had the flu Two hundred and sixty people with COVID-19 were hospitalized and 31 deaths related to the virus were reported last week — the highest numbers in four weeks, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday, adding that cases are expected to peak next month. CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said that of the 260 people hospitalized last week with moderate to severe COVID-19, 98 percent had not received the Omicron XBB.1.5-adapted COVID-19 vaccine. Among the people hospitalized this year, 78 percent were aged 65 or older, while most of the those who were hospitalized or died have or had
Taiwanese who have recently traveled to China for tourism, to visit friends or relatives or for business reasons have been interrogated, detained and faced other forms of unreasonable treatment from Chinese officials, a source said on Sunday. Among them was a Taiwanese who was detained for eight hours at an airport in China due to their research, which is related to religion, while others have had their travel documents for China canceled for a number of reasons, the source said. In July, China expanded the scope of its counterespionage law, and recently announced a draft amendment to the law on the protection