Han Kuo-yu proposes Kaohsiung foreigner tax for tourists visiting the southern Taiwan city

The new head of the city's Dept. of Finance expressed agreement with the feasibility of the measure, which requires legislative approval

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Kaohsiung Mayor Han speaks with media, Dec. 25

Kaohsiung Mayor Han speaks with media, Dec. 25 (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The new mayor of Kaohsiung, Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) is floating the idea of a tax on tourists to the city to shore up a little extra income, which Han hopes will improve the financial environment and tourism sector of the economy.

On Monday, Mayor Han was interviewed by a newspaper and suggested the proposal, but also noted that legislative approval is necessary for such a measure to be implemented, as no similar measures have ever been proposed in Kaohsiung.

Liberty Times reports that the new head of Kaohsiung City’s Department of Finance, Li Liang-jian (李樑堅) expressed agreement with Han that such a measure might be possible, and worth pursuing. Li said that the new administration is planning to discuss the matter with hotels, and the city’s legislators.

Li also clarified that the primary target of such a tax would be on foreign tourists as opposed to domestic tourists. He also cited precedents of similar taxes in Europe, the U.S., and Japan.

Li said that the measure would probably just be a fixed amount payable through businesses offering accommodation. He gave the example of NT$100 each night a foreigner is visiting the city.

It would not amount to much of a difference for visitors seeking lodgings for a limited stay in Kaohsiung, but it would increase the city’s revenue by a significant margin.

Liberty Times quoted the Speaker of the Kaohsiung Legislature Hsu Kun-yuan (許崑源) who said that while the Legislature has not expressed its support for the measure, proposals will be considered based on their potential benefit to the people Kaohsiung.