The hotel industry is stuck in a rut, especially considering Taipei’s dependence on international visitors
As the ongoing pandemic continues to impact Taiwan’s hotel industry, a Taiwan tourism group has called upon the government to urgently address this situation and moderately relax border restrictions, reported Taiwan News.
Lulu Chuang, chairwoman of Leofoo Tourism Group, urged the government in a recent interview to adopt the style of the UK and US in loosening border controls as vaccination rates reach certain levels.
Taipei greatly depends on international visitors, so the city has been heavily impacted, said Chuang.
She shared that occupancy rates at the Courtyard by Marriott Taipei in Nangang District have been unstable, seeing 10-20 percent fluctuations during the peak of the pandemic. On the other hand, Leofoo Village Theme Park had to close from May to July to comply with government regulations.
“Last year, we made a prompt decision to convert the Leofoo Hotel and Leofoo Residences into quarantine hotels” in order to maintain stable sources of guests and earnings, Chuang said.
The Courtyard by Marriott Taipei had also recently transformed into a quarantine hotel to stay afloat.
“Taiwan should not lock the country in order to pursue zero confirmed cases,” she noted.
Instead of only handing out stimulus vouchers as Taiwan’s vaccination rates climb, the government should also plan on relaxing border restrictions to a certain extent, to attract foreign visitors and investments.
Case in point, the UK has allowed travellers from low-risk countries with negative PCR test results to enter since July when its two-dose vaccination rate reached 49 percent. Australia has shortened the required quarantine time for arriving travellers to seven days, while neighbouring countries like Singapore, Thailand, and South Korea have all implemented different degrees of border relaxation.
Hsiao Ching-tien, director of the Taiwan Tourist Hotel Association, mentioned in a separate interview that the vaccination rate is key to border reopening.
Taiwan has achieved a 60 percent first-dose vaccination rate and a 20 percent second-dose rate, which is aimed to be brought up to 60 percent by the end of 2021.
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