Taiwan cracks down on unlicensed rentals

Taiwan Tourism Bureau

Taiwan’s tourism stakeholders are on a relentless campaign to clamp down on the unlicensed rentals, with “non-supportive platforms” facing fines – and now also the prospect of being named-and-shamed on a tourism bureau website.

Earlier this week, over 500 tour operators from around Taiwan gathered at a Taiwan Tourism Bureau (TTB) press conference in support of the government’s stance against unlicensed rentals, which they believe compromise the safety of travellers and Taiwan’s image.

Tour agencies gather to show support against unlicensed rentals

“Taiwan has more than tens of thousands of legal hotels and B&Bs, which means that there is enough hotel supply in the travel market,” Ez Travel said in a statement.

“The responsibility of travel agencies should be actively developing and cooperating with legal hotels, thereby creating a win-win situation for the tourism industry. The consumer disputes arising from the sales of cheap and unlicensed rentals would create a negative impact on the image of the travel agencies and cause a great loss for them.”

At the press conference, the TTB announced that the government will conduct stringent inspections on property owners of unlicensed rentals in an effort to provide safe accommodation for international tourists.

The TTB added that it will publish the names of non-supportive platforms on TaiwanStay.net and issue news releases.

In addition to working with local governments in the implementation of fines, punishments and business closures, the bureau’s travel and accommodation department shared that the government has “actively controlled the sales of unlicensed rentals from travel agencies”.

Meanwhile, the bureau has also imposed heavy taxes and hefty penalties on the sale of unlicensed rentals provided by overseas travel e-commerce companies.

The bureau also shared a list of some approved travel service providers that oppose unlicensed rentals – including Ez Travel, Cola Tour, Star Travel, Ezfly International Travel and Lion Travel – and assured the general public that making reservations on their travel sites is safe.

Though absent from the event, foreign OTAs issued statements saying they were not in support unlicensed rentals in Taiwan. Rakuten promised that it will proactively review and oppose unlicensed rentals, while Booking.com and Agoda both committed to acting on reports of violations.

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