Shopping destinations reduced to enhance mainland tour group quality
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-08-05 11:45 AM

In an effort to combat bargain-basement group tour prices, the Tourism Bureau of the Ministry of Transportation and Communication is expected to force the reduction of shopping destinations on the itineraries of high-quality mainland tour groups. Currently most mainland tour group packages in Taiwan are scheduled for eight days and seven nights. In the future, the current seven shopping destinations will be reduced to six. Upscale shopping destinations such as jewelry and jade shops will be further limited to one. Many mainland tourists focus on purchasing jewelry and jade in Taiwan. Whether this policy will reduce foreign exchange income derived from tourism is worth further observation.

The Tourism Bureau is currently amending the “Operational Guidelines for the Auditing of High-Quality Itineraries” and will make an announcement soon.

Certain travel agencies attract mainland tourists to Taiwan through bargain-basement marketing tactics while filling the itinerary with numerous shopping destinations. Much controversy has accompanied the fact that tour guides and travel agencies receive commissions when mainland tourists make purchases.

Officials stated, according to regulations, the number of shopping destinations that can be included on an itinerary is dependent on the number of days mainland tourists remain in Taiwan. For an average length of stay of eight days and seven nights, travel agencies can arrange for seven shopping destinations. However, starting October 1, this number will be reduced by one.

According to a Tourism Bureau survey on the consumer trends of foreign tourist in Taiwan, last year, per person per day consumption by mainland tourists fell below US$260 for the first time to US$259.64 (approximately NT$7,835). The Tourism Bureau pointed out that Taiwan is actively promoting high-quality itineraries for mainland tour groups and limiting shopping destinations to stem the reduction in consumption.

According to Tourism Bureau analysis, jewelry and jade purchases account for the largest portion of mainland tourist consumption at 34.6%. Second is famous or specialty products at 20.6% and third is cosmetics or perfume products at 13.1%. Currently, 43 jewelry and jade boutiques located primarily in Kaohsiung and Hualien cater to mainland tourists.

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