Discounted Boat Tickets Remain a Problem at Sun Moon Lake Despite Pricing Regulations

Sun Moon Lake
Sun Moon Lake

Discounted boat tickets at Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) remain a problem, with hawkers selling the tickets on the streets at significantly lower prices than the recently-implemented minimum price of NT$300 (US$9.81). The maximum ticket prices were set at NT$1500.

The Nantou County Government and Maritime and Port Bureau agreed to set the minimum price beginning July 1 to ensure the quality of boat trips on Taiwan’s scenic lake. Prior to the minimum ticket price scheme, tour boat operators competed for business with fares as low as NT$70 that degraded the quality of the tours and led to complaints from tourists. However, not everyone is following the new rules, according to Apple Daily.

In order to sell more tickets, boat operators hand tickets to “little bees” (小蜜蜂) who then approach tourists on the streets or around the docks. These resellers will often sell the tickets at steep discounts to ensure that boats are full and all tickets are sold. With more discounted tickets sold, tour boat operators earn lower profits that would be used to maintain their boats.

Some tour boat operators have complained that after July 1 they have seen tickets sold for as little as NT$100 that the “little bees” call “preferential” prices.

The Nantou County Government has not yet initiated an audit on ticket prices. Authorities have noted that some operators have lower prices on their websites and will be issued warnings next Monday.

The Tourism Bureau said it will conduct inspections soon and issue fines of between NT$6000 and NT$60,000 for those violating the minimum pricing. Those that are reported to authorities by tourists will face fines of NT$10,000-50,000.

Sun Moon Lake is one of the top tourist destinations in Taiwan. It was the seventh most popular destination among foreign tourists in 2016 and the top scenic destination. 2.98 million tourists visited Sun Moon Lake in the first half of this year, down by more than 300,000 from the previous year.

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