Lion Travel sees spike in prices of overseas tours

POST PANDEMIC TRAVEL:
With prices forecast to jump by 30% to 50%, the nation’s largest travel firm promised to provide safe and higher-quality tours

  • By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter

Overseas package tour fees are expected to be 30 to 50 percent higher than pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels as global inflation has increased the cost of airfares, as well as transportation and accommodation costs, Lion Travel said yesterday.

The nation’s largest travel agency made the remarks while announcing the launch of a survey of travel destinations that people most want to visit should the government reopen the nation’s borders in July as planned.

Many areas have lifted border control measures and allowed fully vaccinated visitors to enter without having to quarantine, including South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, the US, the UK and the EU.

Photo courtesy of Lion Travel

Japan yesterday launched a “test tourism” program in the form of limited package tours to gather data before a planned full reopening next month.

Taiwan is likely to allow limited international travel at the initial stage, before gradually removing quarantine requirements for inbound travelers, the travel agency said.

Lion Travel general manager and spokeswoman Ann Lai (賴一青) said that travelers could pay 30 to 50 percent more for package tours than they did before the pandemic.

A five-day group tour to Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture would cost at least NT$40,000, while a five-day package tour to Tokyo would cost NT$50,000 or more, Lai said.

The cost of a 10-day or longer tour of Europe or North America could vary from NT$100,000 to NT$120,000, she said.

“We estimate that tourism in the post-pandemic era will experience a V-shaped recovery, with prices gradually becoming stable again,” she added.

The travel agency has pledged to enhance the quality of its tours, as travel safety and disease prevention are expected to be two key factors in consumers’ selections of overseas tour packages, Lai said.

“We would require tour guides and tour bus drivers to be inoculated with at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and show that they have tested negative in a polymerase chain reaction test or a rapid test,” she said. “During tours, travelers will have their own set of meals delivered to them to avoid cross infection.”

Tourists would stay in star-rated hotels, with most of the activities taking place outdoors, she added.

Tour groups would be downsized from 30 to 40 members to 21 to 26 members, with the bus occupancy rate lowered to 60 to 70 percent, Lai said.

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