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Tourism Administration suspends operation of 'We Love Tour' for 3 months

02/16/2024 07:48 PM
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Travelers bound for Vietnam's Phú Quốc and Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur head to Gates A2 and A3 in Taoyuan Airport on Friday. CNA photo Feb. 16, 2024
Travelers bound for Vietnam's Phú Quốc and Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur head to Gates A2 and A3 in Taoyuan Airport on Friday. CNA photo Feb. 16, 2024

Taipei, Feb. 16 (CNA) The Tourism Administration on Friday ordered Taiwanese tour company "We Love Tour" to suspend its operations for three month after failings at the firm led to 292 travelers having their vacations in Vietnam disrupted from Feb. 11 to Feb. 14.

In a press release, the administration said investigations conducted into We Love Tour on Feb. 13 and Feb. 15, confirmed that the operator has financial difficulties, being over NT$10 million (US$318,730) in debt.

The administration also found the Taiwanese company violated the rights of its customers after 292 travelers who booked tours from Taipei to the island of Phú Quốc in Vietnam had their schedules changed or cancelled by We Love Tour's Vietnamese tour operator partner Winner International Travel.

The administration said We Love Tour is experiencing financial difficulties and is no long able to properly fulfill its service contracts with customers.

The three-month suspension is imposed on the company in accordance with Articles 36 and 38 of Consumer Protection Act to prevent more consumers from having their rights violated, the administration said.

Head of the administration's Travel and Training Division Tang Wen-chi (湯文琦) added that the suspension will impact around 430 customers, for whom We Love Tour had planned tours up until April.

All We Love Tour customers whose tours are now canceled may seek compensation from the Taiwanese company or have the firm assist in transferring their designed itineraries to another agency in Taiwan, Tang said.

Tang also revealed that the administration forbid We Love Tour from taking a tour group bound for Phú Quốc on Friday.

Tang added that the administration found evidence that the Taiwan company only paid for air fares and local hotels for participants in the group, but not domestic tour operators.

As a result, the group of 16 scheduled to fly to Vietnam on Friday signed a new contract with an independent tour manager at Taoyuan Airport designating their package a private tour including visiting Phú Quốc with no local guides.

Passengers get ready to board a Starlux plane bound for the island of Phú Quốc in Vietnam at Taoyuan Airport's Gate A3 on Friday. CNA photo Feb. 16, 2024
Passengers get ready to board a Starlux plane bound for the island of Phú Quốc in Vietnam at Taoyuan Airport's Gate A3 on Friday. CNA photo Feb. 16, 2024

As to We Love Tour's alleged violation of the Regulations Governing Travel Agencies, the administration said it will gather evidence and victim testimonies from tour groups that left Taiwan for Phú Quốc tours on Feb. 9 and Feb. 10 and evaluate the allegations based on Taiwan's Act for the Development of Tourism.

Tang also said if We Love Tour General Manager David Lin (林大鈞) is unable to resolve the problems with the company, Taiwan's Travel Quality Assurance Association will revoke its membership.

If We Love Tour is unable to present a satisfactory proposal to the administration after three months on how it could improve operations, Tang said the suspension will be extended.

(By Wang Shu-fen and James Lo)

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