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Stop circle Island from shopping Tour in Taiwan

Viewed 7501 times 2013-1-10 20:59 |System category:Life| shopping

A glimpse of Taiwan.(Xinhua Photo)


The number of mainland tourists traveling to Taiwan last year reached 2.2 million, among which 1.7 million traveled with a tour group. As the number of travelers to the island has increased, so have complaints about travel agencies. Many complain that there is too much shopping time and not enough sightseeing activities in the itinerary, saying that most island-circling tours promoted by travel agencies have ended up as shopping tours. 

An eight-day island-circling group tour in Taiwan is one of the most popular trips among mainland travelers. It covers a total distance of 1,600 kilometers and includes must-see sights, such as the Taipei Palace Museum, Ali Mountain and Sun Moon Lake. 

Although tourists must travel this long distance in only eight days, their tour guides still arrange as much shopping time as possible. Yang Caiying is a tour guide from a local travel agency in Taiwan. 

"Pineapple cakes and tea are very popular local products among travelers. Also, there are other special products in Taiwan such as coral and Taiwan jade."

Mr. Li is a mainland traveler. He says he has spent a lot of money during his trip to Taiwan. 

"I just bought red coral on which I spent about 98,000 new Taiwan dollars. Besides, I also got some local snacks and souvenirs when shopping here. Altogether, I have spent about 40,000 yuan during my trip in Taiwan."

According to a Taiwan tourism website, the minimum cost of an eight-day island-circling tour costs about 14,400 new Taiwan dollars, including local transportation, accommodations, meals, tickets to scenic spots and tour guides. 

But the actual prices quoted by some local travel agencies were only about 4,200 Taiwan dollars. That is to say, these travel agencies will make a loss of more than 10,000 dollars on each customer. Therefore, they have to find other ways to cover the loss. 

Yao Daguang, the head of a local tourism association in Taiwan, explains. 

"These low-cost tour groups don't mean that tourists can live on 20 to 30 U.S. dollars a day in Taiwan, as that's impossible. Certainly, there have to be some other kinds of commission from the tourists' shopping to cover the cost."

Adding more shopping sites, extending more time for shopping, and misleading tourists to spend money—these are widely known as common tactics travel agencies use to increase income, Xu Yongyu, head of a travel agency in Taiwan, says. 


A glimpse of Taiwan.(Xinhua Photo)


"Many tour groups are scheduled to visit eight shopping sites during their eight days in Taiwan. Sometimes, extra shopping sites that provide agricultural products are also added to the itinerary of these tour groups. That is to say, there are more than eight shopping sites during eight days, so that should cover the cost."

According to media reports, local tourism authorities in Taiwan issued guidelines at the end of 2012 to improve the shopping environment for mainland tourists traveling to the island.

The local sightseeing bureau says it is coordinating with the mainland to discuss the guidelines and has called on Taiwanese authorities to guarantee the rights of mainland tourists. It said stores that mislead or cheat customers will have their names published, and tour guides who do the same will be punished as well.

Taiwan tourism authorities also stress they will continue to promote permanent travel activities, encourage mainland tourists to visit scenic areas and make efforts to promote in-depth tours. 


Source: CRI Online

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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