TAIPEI, Taiwan – The Tourism Bureau announced yesterday that tourists scheduled to go to the Philippines can receive full refunds after deducting a certain amount of regulated fees after the Executive Yuan announced a “red” travel alert against the Philippines among eight other sanctions issued over the shooting of a local fisherman in disputed waters.
According to the Tourism Bureau, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs listed all areas of the Philippines as being in the “red” travel alert zone, which suggests people should not travel to those areas.
Around 180,000 Taiwanese tourists travel to the Philippines annually, according to the Tourism Bureau, which placed local tourists in the top 10 of those who visit the Philippines.
The Tourism Bureau said that tourists who are already scheduled to go to the Philippines and wish to cancel their trips can receive full refunds after a certain amount of fees are deducted according to regulations.
In a press release issued by the Tourism Bureau yesterday, the bureau asked all domestic travel agencies to stop forming tour groups to the Philippines and reminded tourists who will travel to the Philippines to pay attention to their safety.
According to the Tourism Bureau, the exact number of tourists who have made reservations with travel agencies to go to the Philippines has not been confirmed.
General Manager of Phoenix Tours Bian Jie-min said that Boracay and Cebu are two popular tourist spots that Taiwanese tourists like to visit and none of their customers who are scheduled to travel to the Philippines have cancelled their trips yet.
Sui Gui-zhen of Gloria Tour said that not many of their customers have decided to cancel their trips to the Philippines recently, but she expected that the number of tourists traveling to the Philippines will gradually decrease.
Lion Travel said that the agency will support the government’s policy and assist their clients if they cancel their trips and apply for full refunds.
Meanwhile, tourism authorities and travel agents from the Philippines have withdrawn from participation in the upcoming 2013 Taipei Tourism Expo, assuming that their presence will not attract Taiwanese tourists. The move will cost the Philippine participants NT$240,000 in penalties.