Spike in US-bound tourist volume less than expected


TAIPEI–The number of group tourists traveling to the United Stated has remained flat compared with the same period of last year, despite the introduction of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program last November, travel insiders said yesterday.

While Taiwanese citizens are now free from the cumbersome process of obtaining a U.S. visa at a cost of NT$4,800 (US$163.7) per application, the benefit has often resulted in people being hesitant to make hard and fast travel decisions, according to the Travel Quality Assurance Association.

“Our clients now spend more time doing research and comparing different itineraries, given the savings to their time and budgets,” said the association’s Chen Chung-ming.

Instead of an earlier forecast of a 30-percent growth in tourist volume, there has been no significant change in that market segment, Chen said.