People planning to travel to Japan or South Korea this spring can save a little on air fare thanks to the open sky policy between Taiwan and Japan, as well as the launch of direct flight services between Taipei International Airport (Songshan) and Kimpo International Airport in South Korea, the Travel Quality Assurance Association said yesterday.
However, the prices for tour packages to these two countries will still rise because of surging oil prices and increasing accommodation costs, the association told a press conference to announce reference prices for different package tours around the world from next month to June.
Prices for package tours to South Korea will rise by NT$2,000 to NT$4,000, and except for tours to Okinawa, tour prices for other places in Japan will increase by about NT$1,000 from the same period last year.
Chris Lee (李道珩), deputy general manager of JP Travel who monitors tour prices to countries in northeast Asia, said the Songshan-Kimpo direct flight service could begin next month.
He said that while Taiwan gave the right to operate this route to the nation’s top two carriers — China Airlines (CAL) and EVA Airways — the South Korean government granted the right to two budget carriers.
“We expect CAL and EVA to adjust ticket prices accordingly to counter competition [from the budget carriers],” Lee said. “The airfare could drop further by NT$500 to NT$1,000.”
Lee said that the open sky policy between Taiwan and Japan will also help reduce ticket prices, particularly during the peak travel season.
There could be more chartered flights to any city in Japan other than Tokyo, he added.
Meanwhile, the prices for package tours to Phuket and Chiang Mai in Thailand, as well as to Singapore, will drop by between NT$1,000 and NT$2,000 from the same period last year. However, prices for tours to other parts of Thailand and Bali, Indonesia, will rise by between NT$2,000 and NT$4,000.
Despite the depreciation of the euro, tour prices to Europe will climb by NT$3,000 to NT$5,000. Travelers to the UK will particularly notice the increase in their tour budget as the county will be hosting the Olympics and Paralympics Games in summer, with accommodation and transportation costs rising ahead in spring.