Taipei, Dec. 6 (CNA) The Ministry of Transportation and Communication (MOTC) announced Friday that it will widen the scope of subsidies for charter flights arriving in Taiwan.
The move is part of government efforts to boost local tourism in the wake of falling numbers of tourists from China.
The MOTC said that transport minister Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) has instructed that inbound charter flights arriving at Taiwan's airports -- apart from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and Taipei Songshan Airport -- from Japan, South Korea, Russia and Hong Kong and Macau will be granted subsidies in proportion to their load factors, if those factors hit a level between 50 percent and 70 percent.
In line with existing regulations, each charter flight (with more than 140 seats and at least 100 tourists) from Japan and South Korea is eligible for an MOTC subsidy of US$13,813 and US$7,998, respectively.
Meanwhile, charter flights from Southeast Asian countries (excluding the Philippines) and the Far East area of Russia are entitled to a subsidy of US$8,000, while those from other parts of the world (except China) get US$5,000.
Subsidies for those with a load factor higher than 70 percent will remain the same, the MOTC added.
The measure was adjusted to encourage local travel agencies to organize more charter flights to Taiwan, after they complained about "zero" subsidies even if charter flights they organized had a load factor of 50 percent - 70 percent, MOTC officials said.
It is also aimed at filling the gap left by the drop in the number of tourists from China since Beijing imposed restrictions on sight-seeing trips to Taiwan in August, by bringing in more foreign tourists to central, southern and eastern Taiwan, they said.
The new measure is expected to take effect later this month, the MOTC officials said.
According to Tourism Bureau tallies, the number of tourist arrivals to Taiwan from China in October dropped to 114,000 -- a 52.5 percent year-on-year fall.
In addition, another new measure will also be put in place that will grant local travel agencies NT$1,000 for every foreign tourist who arrives in Taiwan (except those entering through Taipei and Taoyuan) aboard their charter flights and who stay in the country for at least six nights before June 30, 2020.
Travel agencies that organize charter flights that fly at least 50 foreign tourists on each trip to Hengchun Airport in Pingtung County, southern Taiwan, will also be able to claim a subsidy of NT$600 for each foreign tourist they bring in.