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Budget hotel shortage can't meet tourist influx

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- As more and more backpackers and individuals choose to visit Taiwan, a severe shortage of lower-priced hotels in Taipei has emerged, according to hoteliers.

According to the Tourism Bureau, 7.7 million tourists visited Taiwan through Dec. 21 of this year, achieving the goal set by the government ahead of schedule. Despite new travel policies rolled out by the Chinese government that restrict travel, the number of individual travelers to Taiwan continued to surge, especially from Hong Kong and Macao, which surpassed 1 million in November.

As a result, the demand for budget hotels has surged, especially in the Taipei City area, which is limited in its supply of land. To attract this underserved market, renovations on exterior buildings are often conducted by hoteliers to attract business.

Two listed companies, Formosa International Hotels Corporation (晶華酒店) and the Ambassador Hotel (國賓), launched separate brands Just Sleep and AMBA, respectively, to capture this budget travel market.

Cosmos Hotel & Resorts Group (天成飯店) recently followed suit by launching the Bee House this year. A manager at Cosmos said that it is difficult to find prime locations to build hotels in Taipei. He said that room price for individual travelers range from NT$2,500 to NT$3,500 per night, and there is a serious shortage of rooms priced in the NT$1,000 range.

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