Wed, Feb 09, 2011 - Page 2 News List

More opt for Taiwan over New Year

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

People walk across a wood-decked cable suspension bridge yesterday in Jhushan Township, Nantou County. More than 20,000 people, a record-high average of more than 3,500 each day, visited the bridge over the Lunar New Year holiday.

Photo: Lin Ming-hung, Taipei Times

The number of domestic travelers topped 8.96 million during the Lunar New Year holiday, a 32 percent increase compared with the corresponding period last year, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said yesterday.

“Some people characterize the economic rebound this year as a ‘non-felt’ recovery,” Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said. “But judging from statistics from the nation’s scenic spots, this is a ‘felt’ recovery. For the ministry, we have opened high [as in the stock market] at the beginning of a new year.”

Mao said that many people chose to stay in Taiwan instead of traveling overseas either because of turbulent political situations or inclement weather in some popular travel destinations.

According to the Tourism Bureau, Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) in Nantou County reported a total of 267,000 tourists from Thursday to Monday, a new record. Bureau statistics also showed that visitors to Taipei’s Flora Expo helped increase travel numbers to northern Taiwan by 44.15 percent compared with the same time last year. Figures for central and southern Taiwan rose by 29.96 and 33.62 percent, respectively, partly thanks to the Cherry Blossom Season at Sun Moon Lake.

Tourists numbers to the east coast, however, fell 11.49 percent. The bureau attributed this mainly to the flora expo.

Hoteliers and amusement park operators also enjoyed increased revenues during the holiday. Between Thursday and Monday, visitor numbers to 24 amusement parks around the nation grew 20.27 percent to approximately 600,000. Total revenues rose 13.95 percent to about NT$330 million (US$11.4 million).

Hotels in some major tourist destinations, including Kenting (墾丁) in Pingtung County and Sun Moon Lake, reported an average occupancy rate of 80 percent or more.

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