Taiwan set to revive tourism as coronavirus eases

Campaigns to begin when island country reports no local transmissions for one whole month

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Sun Moon Lake in central Taiwan (Facebook, @time.for.taiwan photo)

Sun Moon Lake in central Taiwan (Facebook, @time.for.taiwan photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan may soon introduce an initiative to boost the country’s tourism industry amid signs the risk of community spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is falling.

Taiwan has reported zero cases three days in a row, and 28 days have passed without local transmission. As of Sunday (May 10), the country has 440 confirmed cases, including 6 deaths.

While health officials remain cautiously optimistic about the development, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) has hinted measures are on the horizon to revive tourism, which has been one of the sectors hardest-hit by the crisis. The plan will be implemented in three phases when the country reports no local infections for a full month, he said Sunday, according to Newtalk.

The first stage will focus on collaboration with industry players to ensure the vigorous practice of infection prevention. Experts will be tasked with designing itineraries and conducting examinations of tourist attractions to gauge their preparedness.

Next will come incentives to entice travelers by providing citizens with subsidies of NT$1,000 (U$33) for individual travel and NT$6,000 for group travel. The details of the deals have yet to be determined, Lin said. The third phase will be a campaign to attract international travelers to Taiwan.

As the coronavirus rages, Taiwan has seen a plunge in the number of arrivals and departures during the first quarter of 2020. From January through March, 3,615,349 people arrived in Taiwan, and 3,552,631 flew out of the country, a sharp decline compared to the same period last year when 7,043,654 arrivals and 7,152,826 departures were logged.

Singapore has rolled out an audit initiative that certifies hotels and other tourism establishments that meet the criteria for safe travel post-coronavirus. Those that meet the requirements will receive an “SG Clean” stamp that gives visitors “peace of mind,” Business Insider quoted Singapore Tourism Board CEO Keith Tan as saying.