Formosa Plastics Group (FPG, 台塑集團) yesterday said that it would provide subsidies to its employees for visits to Hualien, to support the county’s efforts to rebuild its tourism industry following a deadly earthquake there earlier in February.
FPG, the nation’s largest industrial conglomerate, said that with the subsidies, about 7,100 of its employees and their family members would take weekend tours to Hualien organized by the company, starting on Saturday.
The employees are to be offered NT$5,000 (US$170) each, plus an additional NT$1,500 for each relative who travels with them, the company said.
The total budget for the travel subsidies is about NT$23 million for nine planned trips, FPG said.
On Feb. 6, a magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked the coast of Hualien, killing 17 people, injuring 291 and causing widespread infrastructure damage.
Since then, the number of visitsors to Taroko National Park and its many other tourist attractions has dropped sharply.
FPG’s decision followed a recent visit by its president, William Wong (王文淵), to the area, who said that while the landscape has recovered, tourism is still weak.
Under the company’s subsidy program, participating employees are to travel from Taipei, Chiayi or Kaohsiung to Hualien, where they can stay for two days and one night, FPG said.
It is estimated that each person would on average spend at least NT$1,000, which would generate more than NT$30 million in tourism revenue for the county, the company said.
FPG, which donated NT$50 million to quake relief efforts in the county, is one of several Taiwanese enterprises trying to help revive Hualien’s tourism industry.
Contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) has since March 24 been providing a subsidy of NT$3,000 to each of its 6,500 employees and their family members who travel to Hualien.