By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter
People who are planning to travel overseas during the holiday season are expected to pay 20 to 40 percent more for package tours, but they can still find inexpensive travel deals to several destinations, the Travel Quality Assurance Association yesterday told a news conference in Taipei, at which it released a forecast on group tour fees for the first quarter of next year.
Tours to Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia would cost about 20 percent more than before the COVID-19 pandemic, as accommodation, ground transport and flight tickets have become more expensive due to higher energy costs, Kaihsin Travel Service general manager Miki Lai (賴怡君) said.
Price hikes of about 40 percent are expected for tours to Japan due to a personnel shortage in the country, Phoenix Tours Japan department director Sindy Lin (林怡君) said.
“The sudden lifting of border restrictions in Japan in October left the country’s airports and travel industry with little time to replenish the personnel that it lost during the pandemic,” she said.
“Several Japanese airports lack personnel for customs, immigration and quarantine. As such, Taiwanese airlines have so far only resumed flights to seven Japanese airports. We are also seeing price hikes in flight tickets, accommodation costs and admission fees to scenic areas because demand has far exceeded supply. Even though there is a devaluation of the yen, we see a 30 to 40 percent increase in group tour costs, with flight ticket prices accounting for more than 50 percent of the cost,” Lin said.
Costs are expected to stabilize before June next year, she said.
Tours to the US and Canada next month and in February are to cost 20 percent more due to difficulties to secure flight reservations for tour groups, Phoenix Tours assistant general manager Stanley Shao (邵鼎清) said.
Although EVA Airways launched direct flights to Milan, Italy, and Munich, Germany, and China Airlines is to resume nonstop flights to Rome in March, costs of European tours are expected to rise 20 to 30 percent because of the war between Russia and Ukraine, as well as a labor shortage, Sun-Lite Travel Service general manager Huang Alex Huang (黃安邦) said.
“Travelers are expected to spend more on accommodations, tour buses and dining, but the increase will be relatively small due to the appreciation of the New Taiwan dollar against the euro,” he said.
Compared with before the pandemic, costs for tours to Australia and New Zealand are expected to rise 22 to 25 percent due to a comprehensive cost hike in flight tickets, fuel tax, hotels, restaurants, tour bus rental and labor, Phoenix Tours deputy general manager Rex Huang (黃賢在) said.
However, people can still find relatively inexpensive travel deals, such as tours to the Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Turkey and Egypt, Mega Tour Express vice chairman John Pai (白中仁) said.
The costs for tours to the Philippines, South Korea and Vietnam are not expected to increase dramatically because there are sufficient flights to these nations, he said.
Tour prices in the Philippines and South Korea can even be lower than before the pandemic if travelers plan their visits outside the holiday season, he said.
Tour prices in Vietnam and Thailand are also lower on off-peak days, but the prices during the New Year holiday and the Lunar New Year holiday are expected to remain high, he said.
Tours to Turkey cost slightly less because of the appreciation of the NT dollar, Pai said.
People who still want to visit Japan during the holiday season might need to travel before the Lunar New Year holiday or toward the end of that holiday, Lin said.
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