Government to charge for use of public toilets in tourist spots
By Ann Yu, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The government will levy fees on public facilities such as toilets at tourist spots as part of efforts to improve the overall tourism experience.
March 4, 2013, 12:26 am TWN
As visitor numbers continue to grow in Taiwan — more than 7 million visitors arrived in 2012 — the government has recognized the need to put a price on the maintenance of tourist spots.
Tourism Bureau Deputy Director-General Chang Shi-chung (張錫聰) recently said that each scenic area administration will soon put forward proposals for public facility fees.
The East Coast National Scenic Area plans to charge around NT$10 for public bathrooms, while Sun Moon Lake authorities plan to charge around NT$20 for parking and cleaning fees.
According to Chang, the government plans to launch the charges by July at the soonest. Following the presentation of proposed charges, officials will need to hold discussions before any proposals are implemented, he explained.
Chang stressed that the government does not intend to burden people with these charges, but rather is seeking to ensure a higher quality tourism experience.
According to government reports, 8 million tourists went to Sun Moon Lake last year, an increase of 1 million compared to previous years. Visitors from mainland China were a sizable portion of that growth, with figures increasing by 700,000 in one year.
During the period in which Sun Moon Lake has not charged for parking, the problem of cluttered parking lots during the weekend has emerged. The Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area may propose a NT$100 cleaning fee for parking, according to sources.
Officials are also planning to introduce charges at other tourist sites, including for parking at Xianshan Visitor Center and Wunwu Temple.
Officials encouraged visitors to take public transportation so as to avoid traffic jams.
Chang mentioned the hugely popular Yehliu Geopark (野柳地質公園) which charged visitors NT$50 — a price that has not been adjusted in 10 years. Visitor numbers hiked to 2.7 million in 2012, a 700,000 increase from the previous year, according to reports. Officials are considering doubling the fee to NT$100 per person, he said, as NT$50 is generally considered a low sum for tourist sites.