Published on : Monday, April 13, 2020
Taiwan’s government has decided to provide emergency relief measures for its crippling tourism sector as part of its NT$1.05 trillion (1.14 trillion baht) aid package. The support would be provided to workers and businesses bearing the economic brunt of the coronavirus pandemic.
The tourism industry is expected to receive about NT$30 billion to help bail out its businesses, which were among worst-hit industries by the COVID-19 outbreak.
On Thursday, Lin Chia-Lung, Transport Minister, Taiwan mentioned in a statement that the ministry of tourism would be doing everything possible to help alleviate the tourism sector’s plight. He informed that nearly 300,000 employees of the tourism sector including tour leaders, travel guides, hotels, and tourist park employees, as well as transport workers such as tour bus and cab drivers, will be provided with the required help and support under the plan.
The ministry said it would prepare a special budget of subsidies and soft loans for tourism operators, hotels, tour bus companies, and other tourist services. Last month, Taiwan’s central bank cut its full-year economic growth outlook from its 2.57% forecast in December to 1.92%.
Around February, Taiwan suspended all organised tours to and from the mainland as well as individual visits by mainlanders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, local tourism already suffered losses because of mainland China’s ban on tour and group visits to the island.
In addition, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau extended international travel restrictions until the end of May this week. After the coronavirus outbreak spread through Europe and the United States, authorities asked local travel companies to restrict organising trips to countries that are majorly affected by the virus. Later, all international tour operations were also completely suspended.
Therefore, financial help from the government to the tourism industry seems inevitable. According to the cabinet, the NT$1.05 trillion aid package will be provided in two phases. The first phase has already commenced last month. It includes NT$100 billion allocated by the government to help fund affected industries, and issue them nearly NT$350 billion soft loans.
The second phase would include NT$150 billion for local workers. Under that plan, the government will pay subsidies to 1.92 million employees, who will receive 40% of their regular salary for three months. Affected local businesses will also be given a 30% discount on public utility rates.
Additionally, a special budget of NT$150 billion is expected to be added to the second phase of the relief package, while the government-owned banks and financial institutions will extend up to NT$700 billion for businesses in need of financing.