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Taiwan to promote tipping system: Tourism Bureau

2013/04/23 18:36:57

Taipei, April 23 (CNA) Taiwan will promote a voluntary tipping system in the next few months as a way of giving incentives to people employed in the tourism sector at the grassroots level, the Tourism Bureau said Tuesday.

The bureau said the initiative is geared mainly toward hotel bellhops and housekeepers and it is recommending an average tip of NT$50 (US$1.67), in line with the long held practice in Western countries of offering a minimum 1 euro or US$1.

Hoteliers and tour guides proposed in a recent meeting that Taiwan's central bank issue a NT$50 banknote, since that denomination currently is issued in the form of coin, a bureau official told CNA.

"But we're not asking the central bank to issue a NT$50 banknote, we're only mentioning the request made in the meeting," the official stressed.

The Tourism Bureau said it has reached an agreement with hoteliers, travel agencies, and tour guides to promote the tipping system.

In the next few months, the promotion will be launched through travel agencies, tour guides and government publications, the bureau said.

Tips are not recommended in restaurants where a 10 percent service charge is already in place, the bureau said. These are usually formal dining establishments and do not include roadside food stalls.

One hotelier estimated that with a tipping system in place, housekeepers at medium-sized hotels with around 100 guest rooms could see an increase of about 5 percent in income.

Visitors' responses to the tipping proposal were mixed, according to a survey conducted by the local tabloid Apple Daily.

Liu Jiankun, 37, of China said he has does not give tips in either Taiwan or China, although he does so in Western countries.

Greg, 64, an American tourist identified only by his first name, said that it is basic protocol to tip the people who provide services, but he thinks NT$50 is a bit high.

A Taiwanese tourist surnamed Chang said that hotels and restaurants already charge a 10 percent service fee, and guests would feel they are "being fleeced twice" if they have to pay tips.

In addition, Chang said, NT$50 is more than the 1 euro or US$1 usually offered in western countries.

The Tourism Bureau said it will inform Chinese tourists about the new system via cross-strait communications channels.

In 2012, Taiwan recorded 7 million visitors, 35 percent of which were Chinese tourists numbering 2.586 million.

(By Lin Shen-hsu and Lilian Wu)