Tue, May 27, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Consumers starting to venture back out for public recreation

By Annabel Lue  /  STAFF REPORTER

Visitor numbers at outdoor recreation facilities jumped over the weekend, as consumer confidence began to recover after the government said the SARS outbreak has stabilized, industry professionals said yesterday.

"Our visitor numbers on Sunday saw a significant surge over the previous Sunday," Chao Ming-Chien (趙明杰), spokesperson for the Taipei City Zoo, said yesterday.

"This is the highest figure we achieved since April," Chao added.

The surge can be attributed to the news the government announced over the weekend, he said.

On Saturday, Lee Ming-liang (李明亮), co-chairman of the Cabinet's SARS prevention committee said the epidemic has stabilized and the public should feel safe and return to their normal lives.

"Although sales still lag far behind, we already feel very encouraged," Chao said.

Some 4,500 people visited the zoo on Sunday, down 70 percent from the same period last year.

Janfusun Fancy World (劍湖山世界), an amusement park in Yunlin County also reported a 50 percent increase in arrival numbers.

"Consumers are gradually coming back," said Lee Cheng-hsing (李政雄), general manager of the company.

Over 3,000 people visited the theme park on Sunday, up 50 percent from the week before.

In a bid to boost business, Janfusun cut admission fees by 50 percent to NT$400 per person earlier this month.

"People have been stuck at home for too long and now they want to get outside for a break," Lee said.

Surfers are also gradually returning to the beach, with arrivals at Green Bay beach on the northeast coast growing some 20 percent on Sunday compared to the figures earlier in the month.

However, indoor facilities such as shopping centers only saw a lukewarm response from consumers.

Retail giant Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨), reported sales over the weekend showed a slight or 10 percent increase over the previous weekend.

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