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Taipei Songshan Airport.  (CNA photo)
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Travel agencies account for the vast majority of a sharp drop in the number of furloughed workers ahead of the Oct. 13 reopening of Taiwan’s borders to tourists, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) said Tuesday (Oct. 11).
From Thursday, travelers arriving in Taiwan will no longer face three days of COVID-19 quarantine followed by four days of self-health monitoring, but instead face seven days of self-monitoring, with eating outside allowed. In addition, a ban on tour groups will also be lifted.
The changes have fueled interest in outbound flights for Taiwanese eager to travel overseas after more than two years of COVID restrictions, while travel agencies also hope Taiwan can again reach the 11 million visitors from overseas it attracted in 2019.
The MOL said the number of furloughed workers had dropped by 4,714 to 13,336 over the past week, with travel agencies accounting for 3,154 of the decline, CNA reported. The new level corresponded to the figures from before April 15, when the daily number of new local COVID infections stood below 1,000. Recent numbers of local transmissions have ranged mostly between 30,000 and 50,000.
The tour operators reducing the number of furloughed workers were mostly larger companies, according to MOL officials. Once the travel sector picks up and more people resume overseas trips, the smaller companies will also benefit, they said.
Hotels, restaurants, and the wholesale sector will see a revival once foreign tourists return to Taiwan in larger numbers, the MOL predicted, adding that it might take up to one month for the trend to become clear.
The latest data showed 2,042 companies had furloughed employees, down from 2,734 recorded on Oct. 3. The number of furloughed workers dropped from 18,050 to 13,336 over the same period, with one company accounting for a decline of more than 600 people. The trend had not reached airlines and tour bus operators yet, though the average duration of their furloughs has been shortened.
Updated : 2022-10-13 02:53 GMT+08:00
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