The Port of Taichung witnessed a year-on-year growth exceeding 120 percent for international travelers arriving by cruise ships in the first half of the year, with the number of cruise ship visitors from January to last month topping 74,000.
The number accounted for approximately 50 percent of the port’s passenger volume.
Wang Kuo-ying (王國瑛), chief secretary of Taiwan International Ports Co’s branch office in Greater Taichung, said that the visitors arrived mostly on non-regular cruises.
“Many cruise liners have begun to make stops at the Port of Taichung or the Port of Kaohsiung, rather than just at the Port of Keelung,” Wang said.
“They have taken an interest in the tourist attractions in central Taiwan, including Sun Moon Lake and Chung Tai Chan Temple, both in Nantou County,” Wang added.
Eighty-five percent of the cruise ship visitors were from China, 5 percent from Hong Kong and Macau and the remaining 10 percent were from other countries, Wang said.
Cruise ship visitors usually spend eight to 12 hours in Greater Taichung, Wang said.
The Port of Keelung welcomed approximately 420,000 passengers from January to June, registering a growth of 20.3 percent compared with the same period last year, the ports company said.
In other developments, the Logos Hope, the world’s largest floating library, is scheduled to arrive at the Port of Keelung on Aug. 23.
The library ship is to be open to visitors until Sept. 9.
Registered in Valleta, Malta, the ship is operated by German Christian organization Good Books for All.
The ship was built in 1973 and was previously used as a ferry.
The ship’s crew is made up of 400 Christian volunteers from 60 countries, Taiwan International Ports said.
The charitable organization has traveled to 160 countries since 1960 and greeted 40 million visitors, it said.
The ship’s books are not limited to Christian books and include Chinese-language works, the ports company added.
The ship is to charge visitors who are over 12 years old a NT$20 cleaning fee.
Early-bird visitors to the ship can visit Yangming Oceanic Culture and Art Museum for free and get a 10 percent discount if they shop at Taiwan International Ports stores.