Suao Port (蘇澳港) welcomed its first group of Chinese tourists yesterday as visitors from Zhejiang Province arrived after an 11-hour voyage.
Wang Kun-chi (王坤池), director of Suao Port, said the 335 visitors were from the Taizhou Port Agricultural Exchange Group in Zhejiang. They arrived on the Taiwanese passenger ship Oceanlala, which left Taizhou Port at 7am and arrived late yesterday.
“They will be here for an eight-day trip and attend the opening ceremony of the Ilan International Rain Festival (宜蘭蘭雨節) on Saturday,” Wang said.
“They will also be visiting some of the country’s most popular tourist attractions like Taipei 101 before they leave from Keelung on Tuesday,” he said.
The Ilan County Government has arranged festive events to greet the Chinese tourists, while officials from the Customs Office, the National Immigration Agency and the Centers for Disease Control inspected their ID documents and luggage at Suao Port.
Though the port was opened to cross-strait sea transportation last year, only two cargo liners have docked at the port. The Oceanlala was the first passenger ship to use the port.
One of the Navy’s Kidd-class destroyers is stationed at Suao, but Keelung Harbor Bureau Deputy Director General Chen Fu-nan (陳福男) said Chinese tourists would not be able to take pictures of the vessel because it is docked too far from where the passenger ship disembarks.