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City Achieves Agreement with Online Booking Sites to Remove Illegal Lodgings

City Achieves Agreement with Online Booking Sites to Remove Illegal LodgingsThe Department of Information and Tourism (TPEDOIT) has reached an agreement with Agoda to either remove or suspend listings of illegal hotels in Taipei from its website. The booking operator also promised that it will assist consumers who have reserved such hotels to transfer to alternatives that are licensed and safer.
 
Expedia, another booking website, said it responded to Taipei City’s move with discreetness and had submitted the TPEDOIT’s list of illegal hotels to the company’s legal department in the US for review and approval. An official announcement is expected in the near future, noted the company.
 
The website Booking.com has yet to respond to the city government’s request. TPEDOIT said it will continue to reach out to Booking.com to achieve same consensus.
 
According to TPEDOIT, in 2017 alone, the agency processed 128 illegal transient rental cases. The penalties issued amount to NT$19,770,000.
 
Since the implementation of a crackdown targeting unlicensed hotels in November 1, 2017, a total of 53 illegal hotels have been identified as of the end of May. Among these hotels, 34 had ceased operation before electricity and water was cut off by the authorities; another seven had been registered as legal operators. The remaining 12 establishments are either in the review process or on TPEDOIT’s watch list.
 
The agency’s move is supported by local hotel industry. The Chairman of Taipei Hotel Association calls on all online reservation websites to join in on the war against illegal apartment rentals to ensure consumer rights and the wellbeing of the industry.