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Tourism Bureau calls for mandatory hotel ratings

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Tourism Bureau (交通部觀光局) is planning to push for mandatory star ratings for all tourist hotels in Taiwan to better ensure the quality of accommodation, an official said Tuesday.

At present, only 70 percent of the 112 legally designated tourist hotels across the country have been covered by the rating system.

Liu Hsi-lin (劉喜臨), deputy director-general of the Tourism Bureau, said his bureau is pushing to amend the Act for the Development of Tourism to require hotels seeking tourist hotel status to also join the star rating system.

If the amendment is passed, any hotel that fails to earn a star rating may not be allowed to operate as a tourist hotel, he said.

As for the 700 other regular hotels nationwide, the bureau will also encourage joining the star rating program, he added.

Liu made the remarks during a ceremony in which he presented certificates to 38 hotels that earned star ratings.

There are currently 521 star-rated hotels in Taiwan, including 74 tourist hotels and 447 ordinary hotels.

In late 2010, the Tourism Bureau made it easier for travelers to pick a hotel after launching the nation's first star-rating system.

Before then, the hotel rating system in Taiwan used plum blossoms to indicate the level of service quality. However, foreign tourists did not understand what the plum blossoms signified. The credibility of the rating system was also questioned, as the bureau invited hoteliers to review other hotels.

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