Taipei, Oct. 18 (CNA) South Korean carrier Eastar Jet will fly over a dozen charters to Hualien this month and in November from the South Korea cities of Incheon and Busan, the Tourism Bureau said Friday.
The announcement came after a subsidy program for international carriers offering charter flights to Hualien and Taitung was recently revised, the bureau said, noting that 18 round-trip flights to Hualien through November have been confirmed so far.
Under the program, budget airline Air Busan was the first to operate a charter service from Ulsan to Hualien on Thursday, bringing a total of 121 passengers from South Korea to the eastern Taiwanese county.
According to the Tourism Bureau, the visitors are staying in Taiwan for four days and three nights, including a night in Hualien City and visits to tourist attractions Taroko Gorge and Qixingtan Beach.
The subsidy program, implemented since 2018, is part of a government initiative to boost international tourism to Hualien and Taitung, which can be difficult to access because roadways are often disrupted by natural disasters and train tickets are hard to come by.
In September, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) made some changes to the program, including increasing its subsidies to international carriers that operate charter flights to Taiwan and encouraging airlines to fly to more destinations in the country.
Also, for flights whose load factors exceed 50 percent, passengers on the flights are each being given a travel subsidy of NT$600.
Airport ground service fees for airlines that operate charter flights to Hualien and Taitung have also been reduced since the beginning of October.