Taiwan cracks down on illegal rentals

TAIPEI, 13 June 2018: Taiwan Tourism Bureau has embarked on a crackdown to isolate illegal accommodation providers across the country.

It kicked off the campaign with a press conference to promote legal accommodation and end what it called “unlicensed rentals” Tuesday, held in an unusual venue the city’s main station hall.

According to the TTB, the government will conduct stringent inspections of property owners weeding out unlicensed rentals to improve tourism confidence.

More than 500 tour operators from around the island wearing T-shirts with the message “Backlash against Illegal Rentals” underscored support for the government’s efforts to  control unlicensed rentals that officials said made “a huge impact on Taiwan’s travel safety and image.”

Support was demonstrated by leading travel firms led by Ez Travel, Cola Tour, Star Travel, Ezfly International Travel, and Lion Travel.

They high-fived each other and took an oath on stage to oppose the sales of unlicensed rentals while fully promoting only legal hotels.

The bureau assured the general public that making reservations on recognised travel sites that abide by the law were safe. It called on foreign OTAs that did not attend the event to support the campaign and proactively review and remove unlicensed rentals from their sites.

Both Booking.com and Agoda have apparently promised to remove illegal accommodation and report violations.

However, Taiwan Tourism Bureau threatened to publish the names of non-supportive platforms on TaiwanStay.net (https://taiwanstay.net.tw/) and issue news releases with an aim to protect travellers’ safety.

Data from AirDNA, an international data analysis website, showed that the primary consumer groups of backpackers and travellers, age 21 to 30, rent short-term housing that lack comprehensive safety considerations.

One of the concerns is that the housing does not comply with fire prevention regulation standards, or that using unregistered accommodation could lead to scams and cheating.

In addition to working with local governments in the implementation of fines, punishments and business closures, the bureau’s travel and accommodation department is pressuring traditional travel agencies to end booking agreements with properties that are not registered and in good standing.

It has also imposed hefty taxes and penalties on illegal properties and threatens to fine overseas travel e-commerce companies.

“Taiwan has thousands of legal hotels and B&Bs, which means that there is enough hotel supply in the travel market,”said an executive of Ez Travel.

“The responsibility of travel agencies should be actively developing and cooperating with legal hotels, thereby creating a win-win situation for the tourism industry. The consumer disputes arising from the sales of cheap and unlicensed rentals creates a negative impact on the image of the travel agencies.”

The international travel platform, Lion Travel, affirmed that it if the governments discovered any violation and verified them, offending hotel-related products would be removed from its  travel website.

The bureau stated that TaiwanStay.net (https://taiwanstay.net.tw/) will provide detailed information on legal accommodation that can help minimize the risks

The premium travel websites recommended by Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau are:

EZ Travel  https://www.eztravel.com.tw

Lion Travel  https://www.liontravel.com

Colatour  https://www.colatour.com.tw

Startravel http://www.startravel.com.tw

Easy Fly http://www.ezfly.com

(SOURCE Taiwan Tourism Bureau)