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Taiwan Government unveils tourism relief package
The Taiwan Government has unveiled relief measures to assist the tourism industry, a sector that has been severely impacted by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tourism industry is expected to receive about NT$30 billion to help bail out its businesses, which were among the first to be affected by the outbreak.
Taiwan Minister Without Portfolio Kung Ming-hsin advised a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei that under the plan, travel agencies and tour guides; hotels; amusement parks; and bed-and-breakfasts (B&Bs) would be eligible for paid training programs at the minimum hourly wage of NT$158 (US$5) for 120 hours, which would provide up to NT$18,960 (US$629) for each worker furloughed during COVID-19.
Minister Kung noted that travel agencies, hotels and amusement parks could apply for loans of up to NT$50 million each, while B&Bs would be eligible for loans of up to NT$16 million each.
As with self-employed workers and freelancers, tour guides would be eligible for a subsidy of NT$30,000.
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications has earmarked NT$1.5 billion for subsidies to aid hotels and B&Bs.
Transport Minister Lin Chia-lung advised that his ministry - which covers tourism - would do all it could to help the sector.
The Ministry said it would prepare a special budget of subsidies and soft loans for tourism operators, hotels, tour bus companies and other tourist services.
Minister Lin noted "some 300,000 employees of the tourism sector, including tour leaders, travel guides, hotel and tourist park employees, as well as transport workers such as tour bus and cab drivers, will be covered by this plan.”
Hotels would receive between NT$200,000 and NT$10 million as part of the plan, depending on their size, while B&Bs and those that have received the “Taiwan Host” certification from the Tourism Bureau would receive between NT$50,000 and NT$100,000 respectively.
Meanwhile, the nation’s five largest travel agencies, which typically arrange 500 tours annually, would receive a subsidy of up to NT$25 million.
Mid-sized travel agencies and hotels would be eligible for loans ranging from NT$150 million to NT$500 million, which are to be provided through additional funding in a NT$150 billion package for mid-sized companies that the central bank recently announced.
Minister Lin advised that as of last Wednesday, 364 tourism establishments had applied for loans totalling NT$3.8 billion, and 91 had been approved.
The relief measures would benefit about 200,000 workers in the tourism and hotel industries.
According to the Taipei-based Travel Quality Assurance Association, at least 500 travel agencies will have closed by June, and 3,500 agencies would soon follow a similar fate by the end of the year, if the outbreak continues.
Image of Taipei.Source Wikipedia
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