Ministry to grant domestic travel subsidies from July 1

CNA file photo

TAIPEI (CNA) — Members of the public will be entitled to subsidies from July 1 as part of the government’s efforts to encourage domestic travel as the COVID-19 pandemic eases, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said Wednesday.

Speaking at an event to supposedly mark the recovery of the tourism sector, Lin said the ministry is planning campaigns that will subsidize the group travel sector to the tune of NT$600-NT$700 (US$20-US$23) per person per day, while the independent travel sector will enjoy a subsidy of NT$1,000 per room per night.

The campaign will go side by side with an economic stimulus program expected in July, which will issue vouchers to the public for in-store purchases, in a bid to revive consumer buying to the fullest extent, Lin said.

The preliminary economic plan is to allow anyone, regardless of age or income level, to pay NT$1,000 to obtain NT$3,000-worth of vouchers to shop at stores, buy train tickets and pay for taxi fares, National Development Council (NDC) Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said in a recent interview.

At Wednesday’s event, about 1,000 tourism operators set off on nine separate inspection tours across Taiwan to explore new travel destinations and packages that comply with COVID-19 control measures.

“People have been holding back from travel for a long time,” said Hsiao Po-jen (蕭博仁), head of the Travel Agent Association of the Republic of China (Taiwan), expressing hope that the market could rebound soon.

It is expected that tourism operators could develop standard operating procedures for “travel during pandemic” after the market studying trips. Such measures will become travel guidelines for the public from July 1, the ministry said.

The nine trips will concentrate on sightseeing along Provincial Highway No. 3 connecting Taipei and Pingtung and the West Coast Expressway between New Taipei and Tainan, under the themes of ecology, mountain climbing, biking, beaches and small-town visits, the ministry said.

One group will spend three days hiking at a Tung blossom scenic trail in Miaoli and biking at the Xinwu green tunnel in Taoyuan, as well as visiting the Tri-mountain National Scenic Area in central Taiwan and several other tourist spots.