Representatives of the tourism industry have recently agreed to reduce shopping itineraries offered to Chinese tour groups in a bid to increase the quality of travel in Taiwan. Chinese tour groups are allowed to be taken on seven shopping trips during an eight-day package, but that will be reduced to just six stops for shopping beginning on Oct. 1, the Travel Agent Association said.
The consensus between the tourism industry and the Tourism Bureau is aimed at promoting Taiwan as a high-quality destination, association secretary-general Roget Hsu (許高慶) said.
Tour operators want tour packages bought by Chinese tourists to catch up with market prices, as many agencies have offered lower-priced packages to lure clients, while making up the difference with commissions from sales at designated stores to which they bring the visitors. While some Chinese tourists welcome the opportunity to shop for souvenirs, others complain that they do not have enough time for sightseeing because of shopping stops.
It is estimated that for each store struck from itineraries, tourism operators are likely to lose US$15 to US$20 per person per day. The policy is to be carried out through the end of the year, when results will be reviewed, Hsu said.
Hsu said tour operators hope for “zero-shopping” packages next year and that these packages can account for up to 20 percent of the 5,000 Chinese on group tours allowed to visit Taiwan each day.