Due to COVID-19, Taiwan's current ban on international group travels will last till the end of May, while the ban on incoming transfer flights and direct cross-strait flights have been extended indefinitely. Tourism professionals are concerned that there's no end in sight to the ongoing pandemic and are looking for other opportunities in order to survive.
Mr. Lai has put on an apron and is getting ready to cook. He was a manager in the marketing department of Lion Travel. After the outbreak of COVID-19, the agency's umbrella company dispatched many workers to the central kitchen to help with the food delivery business. Mr. Lai applied for the opportunity since he has experience working in the food industry.
I'll still deal with customers on the front desk, so I think I can still be pretty efficient with it.
The Lion group has shifted its focus from tourism to providing bento boxes to its employees. After the initial stress test, the company plans to expand its central kitchen and explore the food delivery sector. The group's many restaurants have also launched delivery services. The total income of the tourism industry has gone from NT$2 to NT$3 billion per month in the past to close to zero, and the company has to adapt to the change quickly.
The first step is to sell bento boxes to our employees as a way to stress test our system. We have issued NT$600 vouchers to our employees per month.
Many five-star hotels have also launched their own food delivery services. Le Meridian Taipei has launched their own lunch boxes to target the working professionals. The hotel said the food delivery service has helped boost their income. According to an analysis by the Travel Quality Assurance Association, the government's subsidy package can help sustain the tourism sector till the end of June. However, if the pandemic continues, there's a chance that more travel agencies will close their doors in the second half of the year.
The government's relief package came in several waves, and I think it did help out some in the tourism sector. However, if the pandemic continues through the month of September or worse, to the end of the year, I'm afraid many won't be able to sustain their businesses.
The association said that other than providing training for their employees, many companies are exploring other streams of revenue, such as by selling products online. There is no end in sight for the ongoing pandemic, and finding new opportunities has become a necessity for those who want to survive in the slumping economy.