Gondola to mark milestone
The Maokong Gondola will hold a series of celebrations next week to mark its 10 millionth passenger since its launch on July 4, 2007. The passenger is expected to board at the end of this month, Taipei Rapid Transit Corp said yesterday. As part of the celebrations, the company has prepared 70,000 souvenir pencils to be given away to passengers as they exit the gondola’s Taipei Zoo station from Thursday next week. A total of 2,000 free photo keychains will also be handed out. During the four-day celebrations, the first 1,000 passengers each day wearing clothes decorated with flowers, dogs or crystal patterns will receive free unlimited rides on the gondola. A concert will be held in the parking area opposite the Taipei Zoo station from 6pm to 10pm on Friday next week, featuring performers from Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea.
Expo sets new record
The annual Comic Exhibition that ended in Taipei on Tuesday drew a record turnout of about 550,000 visitors and generated about NT$180 million (US$6.1 million) in business over the event’s six days, according to the organizer. Roger Gao (高世椿), secretary-general of the event organizer, the Taipei-based Chinese Animation and Comic Publishers Association, said there were about 10,000 more visitors than last year and revenue was NT$30 million higher than expected. A total of 70 companies exhibited at the event, which also featured 38 book signing events and activities, the organizer said.
Eric Chu attends festival
New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) attended the opening of a comic book and anime festival held in Tamsui District (淡水) yesterday and said his administration hoped to turn the city into a home for artists. Chu said the city invited Japanese comic book artists Akemi Kurata, Nori Ochazuke and Naomi Kimura, along with the many local artists who attended the opening, to promote cultural and creative industries in the city. Chu also said the government planned to turn a dormitory in Lising New Village into a space where comic book artists could create and display their work, which would make New Taipei City the first center for comics and anime in the nation. The Tamsui Art Gallery, where the festival is taking place, is also holding an Asian comic book exhibition featuring 200 works by 67 artists from eight countries. The exhibition will run until Aug. 28.
Tour operators probed
Travel agencies have not been transparent in quoting group tour prices and could face stiff fines for false advertising, the Consumers’ Foundation said yesterday. In a random survey of 20 travel agencies, the foundation found that 14 posted their prices as “starting from” a certain amount, with real prices up to 50 percent higher than those advertised in some extreme cases. The foundation criticized the practice as violating Ministry of Transportation and Communications guidelines for “fairness and transparency.” The guilty agencies could face a fine of up to NT$25 million if they are found to have violated the Fair Trade Act (公平交易法) clause on false advertising, it added. Among the travel agencies found to be misrepresenting their tour package prices, the foundation said it discovered that ezTravel and Ta Yu Travel Service Co listed “war risk surcharges” as fees in their tour packages even though China Airlines and EVA Air have not collected them since Jan. 1, 2008.