Fri, Dec 12, 2008 - Page 11 News List

FEATURE: Tourists complain about hotels by Sun Moon Lake

POINT OF VIEW Some complained that the design of new hotels does not fit with the natural surroundings and blocks the views from hotels further from the lake

By Emmanuelle Tzeng  /  CNA

Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), one of Taiwan’s most popular scenic spots, is often described as a wonderland veiled in mountain mist. But some tourists have been complaining about big hotels on the edge of the lake that detract from the aesthetics of the setting.

Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County’s Yuchih Township (魚池) is the nation’s largest lake and is surrounded by mountains that rise 760m above sea level.

Hung Wei-hsin (洪維新), deputy director of the Sun Moon Lake Scenic Area Administration, said that last year a total of 3 million foreign and domestic tourists visited the area and this year the number is likely to increase.

But some of these visitors have expressed regret that the natural scenery is being spoiled by unsightly structures on the lake’s edge.

Rui Ming-tai, a tourist from Taichung City in central Taiwan, told the Central News Agency that public facilities and the quality of service at the Sun Moon Lake Scenic Area have improved, but that the views seem to be less stimulating than when he visited the area two years ago.

“The quality of the roads is better, and hotels are more and more comfortable, but we are seeing many giant hotels, including some under construction, and their facades are far from being in harmony with nature,” he said.

He said that the administration should do something about coordinating the height and outward appearance of the hotels.

Rui said he would have liked to have seen the lake from his hotel room, but another hotel under construction on the edge of the lake was blocking the view.

Another tourist, who declined to give her name, said that the design of some buildings being constructed near the lake is “odd.” As an example, she cited the station for a cable car service that will connect Sun Moon Lake with the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village (九族文化村), also a tourist spot.

Having traveled in many countries, she said, she did not understand why the Taiwanese government could not harmonize the buildings’ design and require hotel developers to use natural construction materials such as wood so that the buildings would blend with the surroundings.

The urban planning section of the Nantou County Government said construction plans for hotels are subject to size and height regulations, and should be no taller than six or seven floors.

However, some of the hotels do not adhere to these specifications and there are no regulations regarding the facades of hotels and the materials used to construct them.

“The county government and the scenic area administration can only make suggestions [on hotels’ appearance and building materials] to the owners,” Hung said.

Moreover, hotel operators have their own business considerations and usually want to have as many rooms as possible to maximize their profits, he added.

There are three big hotels under construction in the scenic area.

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