The government today unveiled a short-term plan to provide subsidies to expand domestic tourism, providing support to tourism businesses impacted by the declining number of mainland Chinese tourists travelling to Taiwan.
Formulated by the Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), the plan will inject NT$300 million (US$9.50 million) into the domestic travel industry. The funds will help travel agencies that previously served group tours from mainland China as well as their business partners including hotels, restaurants, tour buses and Mandarin-language tour guides to launch weekday domestic tour packages. Subsidies are expected to cover over 6,600 tour groups, or about 230,000 tourists, generating NT$1.44 billion (US$45.61 million) in economic benefits and business opportunities, and benefiting over 3,000 travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, tour bus operators and yacht cruise businesses.
For domestic tourism businesses that do not cater to mainland Chinese tourists, the government will integrate resources from ministries, agencies and local authorities to provide guidance in developing and promoting in-depth theme tours to encourage senior citizens and families with children to take more group tours, creating business opportunities for the domestic tourism market.
The Tourism Bureau released implementation guidelines for the subsidies today, which will be in effect for the next six months. The Tourism Bureau will also provide each member of the first 30 subsidized tour groups with a “Taiwan Pass” that will help tourists save time and money while creating beautiful memories. This incentive is being offered to help domestic tourism industries recover quickly while also reducing the number of individual vehicles required for travel, helping to achieve government goals for carbon reduction and environmental protection. It is also in line with the government’s policy to promote e-ticketing.
The MOTC reiterated the government’s pledge to fully support tourism-related industries in addressing the shrinking market for mainland Chinese tour groups. Over the short term, it will provide training to the affected travel agencies so they can tap into the domestic tourism market, expand their knowledge about Southeast Asian and Muslim tourists, and pass on their group tour operation experiences. The government will also match up travel agencies with other industries to create business opportunities. In addition, travel agencies are also being encouraged to partner with county and city governments to offer more localized in-depth tours, ecological tours and other new tour packages. Subsidies will be provided to tourist agencies previously oriented towards mainland tour groups so they can organize weekday domestic tours, encouraging citizens to help support hard-hit industries through tough times.
Over the medium and long term the government will develop domestic tourism businesses into brands based on innovation, diversity, and sustainability, adjust the industry structure, and create new and innovative business models and services to turn in-depth travel experiences into mainstream tourism, helping to draw international tourists with unique local attractions, and increasing the overall value of Taiwan’s tourism, the MOTC said.
To create more value, Taiwan tourism needs new ways of thinking and new features. To foster sustainable operations, it needs better service quality and safety. And to promote industrial transformation and upgrades as well as sustainable development, domestic tourism needs to open up to diversified global markets, cultivate existing markets, and tap into new clientele. The MOTC vows to work together with the Tourism Bureau, ministries and agencies, local governments, the tourism industry and the public to build a high-quality travel environment to usher in a new era for the Taiwan tourism industry that optimizes quality, quantity, and value.