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Taiwan to lift rule on minimum group fees

According to Taiwan's China Times, Taiwan is considering lifting the ban on minimum group fees for mainland tour groups.

Lai Ser-jen, the chief of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, say that Taiwan will gradually become a free market for mainland Chinese tourists and the Taiwan Tourism Authority will no longer regulate minimum group fees. Lai states that TTB will be responsible for only supervision and inspection, overseeing vehicle safety, and handling complaints from tourists.

With the dramatic increase in the number of Chinese mainland tourists to Taiwan, there are more disagreements about the differences in tour group fees. Lai says that Taiwan is the only region in the world that set a fixed minimum group fee for mainland tourists in the hope of ensuring good travel service quality; however, with the travel styles of mainland tourists becoming more diverse, it is difficulty to judge the travel quality from the group fee alone.

Zhang Xicong, a director of TTB, stated that high group fees do not guaranty good service quality and a minimum group fee standard limits the operation of tour groups. Zhang says that TTB is considering letting mainland tourists choose the types and price of their tour group and this is expected to be realized in six months.

Lai stressed that though Taiwan will remove minimum group fees for Chinese mainland tour groups, travel organizers will not be allowed to offer zero group fee.

(China Hospitality News March 27, 2009)