TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese travel agencies offering package tours to Palau under the "travel bubble" agreement said they had received fewer bookings than expected, possibly due to the extraordinary costs each traveler has to cover.
With the inaugural flight of the long-awaited "travel bubble" between Taiwan and Palau scheduled to take off on Thursday (April 1), six Taiwanese travel agencies have introduced group tours to the Micronesian country. They are Lion Travel, G. Tour, Phoenix Tours, Lifetour, KKday, and DTS Group.
While all the first tours offered by the agencies have been fully booked, reservations for the remaining trips are still more than 50-percent unbooked, according to an individual working at one of the travel agencies.
The person, who wished to remain anonymous, said the high costs of the trips have been a major deterrent for many customers. He added that the Palau Tourism Bureau has altered its list of tourist spots available for visiting many times already, making it difficult for the travel agencies to finalize their itineraries.
According to information released by the travel agencies, prices for a four-day trip range from NT$64,900 (US$2,273) to NT$74,800. Meanwhile, a five-day tour could cost as much as NT$85,800.
Phoenix Tours General Manager Benjamin Pien (卞傑民) pointed out that the pre-pandemic costs of a four-day trip to Palau were about NT$40,000. He said many customers would rather pay less for a more complete experience after the global outbreak.
Despite the slow sales, Pien said it is possible that prices for the package tours could lower once more round-trip flights are offered between the two countries. He added that sales will likely improve once the first few tours have been successfully carried out.