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11 travel agencies shut down before summer break: officials

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Tourism Bureau yesterday said that a total of 11 travel agencies, including four that had operation certificates revoked, were shut down before the arrival of summer vacation.

According to the Tourism Bureau, of the 11 travel agencies that were shut down, three of them applied to cease operations temporarily while four of them were permanently closed down by their owners.

The Tourism Bureau said that a well-known travel agency, Skylark Travel Service Co., was among the four travel agencies that shut down after their operation certificates were revoked.

The operation certificate of Yi Hua travel agency, the company that was closed down after the owner allegedly disappeared with the firm's money, was also revoked by the Tourism Bureau.

According to the Tourism Bureau, Skylark Travel Service Co. was declared a rejected account by Taiwan Payments Clearing System Development Foundation due to bounced checks, and the agency's Travel Quality Assurance Association (TQAA) membership was also canceled.

The Tourism Bureau said that since Skylark Travel Service Co.'s TQAA membership was canceled, the travel agency has to pay a performance bond that is not refundable. However, the agency only paid NT$210,000 out of the NT$2.1 million that it was required to pay, so the Tourism Bureau decided to revoke its operation certificate.

According to the Tourism Bureau, Skylark Travel Service Co. and La Deluxe Travel Service Co. both belonged to that same owner, but La Deluxe Travel Service Co. is under regular operation so far.

The Tourism Bureau said that people who plan to sign up for guided tours should also sign a travel contract with the travel agency. Travelers should refer to the TQAA's website for the price of a travel package.

Another reminder of the Tourism Bureau is that people should ask for receipts after making payments to make sure that the travel agency purchases insurance before leaving the country.

According to the Tourism Bureau, the operation certificates of the two travel agencies that did not pay the performance bond, Yi Mei and Lien Chia Li International, were also revoked.

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