Taiwan to bottle up starstruck Chinese visitors

MAINLAND Chinese tour groups visiting Taiwan could soon be restricted to staying in star-rated accommodation if the Taiwan Tourism Bureau (TTB) has its way.

TTB director-general Janice Lai said earlier this month that the measures could go into effect as early as the second half of 2012, and would help reduce the number of disputes over travel arrangements between Chinese tourists and Taiwan hotels.

Travel trade members like Kitty Wong, president of Taipei-based K&A International, have their doubts about whether the system would work.

“You can’t discipline your guests. This is a hotel problem, not a government problem,” she said.

Taiwan hotels have been at odds with the TTB for a full decade now over its attempts to implement its star rating system, modeled after the American Automobile Association’s diamond ratings for evaluating hotels and restaurants.

The star rating system was developed to replace the homegrown Plum Blossom evaluation system, previously abandoned due to low awareness among foreign visitors.

To date, only 116 of Taiwan’s 2,703 hotels have been evaluated. Of these, only 67 were eventually given a star rating.

By Sirima Eamtako

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