The government announced Friday that it will allocate NT$300 million (US$9.54 million) to subsidize businesses in the tourism sector that have suffered losses due to the recent drop in the number of Chinese tour groups and help them to design tour packages aimed at local travelers.
The Executive Yuan said in a statement that the budget will be used to subsidize hotels, restaurants, tour bus companies and tour guides, and to launch tour packages designed for Taiwanese travelers to travel locally on their vacations.
The businesses, whose main customers used to be Chinese tourists, have reported heavy losses due to the recent decline in the number of Chinese tour groups coming to Taiwan, it added.
It estimated that the subsidies will benefit more than 3,000 businesses in the local tourism sector.
They are expected to generate NT$1.44 billion in revenue and business opportunities, it said.
According to the Tourism Bureau, the new measure will be put in place over a six-month period, effective immediately.
Under the measure, travel agencies will receive NT$300 on food, NT$600 on accommodation and half of the transportation fees per day for each individual on a tour group, the statement said.
Each travel agency can receive a maximum of NT$45,000 for each tour group, it added.
Meanwhile, travel agencies will receive an additional maximum of NT$10,000 if they hire a Mandarin-speaking tour guide to accompany the tour group, the statement said.
An additional NT$5,000 will be given to eco-tour groups, it said.
The bureau stressed the government's determination to help local tourism businesses to recover from the decline in Chinese group tourists and help them shift their source of customers to Taiwanese travelers and those from Southeast Asia and Muslim-majority countries.
According to National Immigration Agency (NIA) figures, the number of Chinese visitor arrivals to Taiwan Oct. 1-18 was 47.8 percent lower than in the same period of last year, with the number of group tourists dropping by 70.6 percent year-on-year.
From May 20, when the Democratic Progressive Party came to office, to September, Chinese tourist arrivals declined 27.2 percent year-on-year, with the number visiting in tour groups falling 44 percent, according to the NIA figures.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel