Officials demand subsidies to boost Kaohsiung tourism
By Loren Chen, Special to The China Post
August 29, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators from Kaohsiung yesterday held a coordination committee, appealing for the central government to offer subsidies to revive the local tourism industry, which suffered a heavy loss of more than NT$500 million after the multiple gas explosions on Aug. 1.
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the Kaohsiung Tourism Bureau and tourism industry representatives attended the committee, discussing measures to bring back domestic and foreign tourists.
DPP Legislator Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤), who hosted the committee, said that due to the multiple gas explosions and heavy rain, Kaohsiung's hotel occupancies this summer have dropped to approximately 50 percent of usual numbers.
According to the Kaohsiung Tourism Bureau, reservations canceled by tourists have brought losses of NT$160 million to local hotels within two weeks of the gas explosions, Lee added. A certain amount of bookings for September have been canceled as well, Lee said.
Lee said that the measures to revive Kaohsiung's tourism includes rewarding travel agencies that offer tour package to the southern city, lowering the price of accommodation to less than NT$1,000 per day at 40 hotels and inns, and promoting direct flights to Kaohsiung at low prices.
The Kaohsiung Tourism Bureau also proposed cooperation between the Kaohsiung government and travel agencies in the form of subsidies for group travelers. The bureau also called for the central government to allow 10,000 more mainland individual visitors to enter the nation via Kaohsiung each day.
The Kaohsiung government is seeking NT$70 million in subsidies from the central government to revive its tourism industry and bring it back to its normal annual economic value of NT$40 billion to support local industry.