The Cabinet yesterday urged the public to visit Hualien, as the earthquake-hit county is experiencing a drop in tourist numbers.
Following the deadly earthquake on Feb. 6, many travelers canceled their room bookings and train tickets for the Lunar New Year holiday and afterward.
Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) urged Taiwanese and international tourists to visit Hualien County to experience Taiwanese culture and hospitality.
Hsu’s comments came in the wake of news reports alleging that China is suspending group tours to Taiwan next month, as nine Chinese tourists were among the 16 people confirmed dead following the quake.
The government has yet to verify the reported suspension with Chinese authorities, Hsu said, adding that the Straits Exchange Foundation has been asked to communicate with Beijing over the issue.
He urged Chinese tourists not to be deterred by the earthquake and to visit the county known for its landscapes and hospitality.
The Tourism Bureau has announced a NT$55.5 million (US$1.89 million) support program for the county’s tourism industry, which could boost tourist numbers and create revenue that is several times higher than the support budget, Hsu added.
Minister Without Portfolio Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶), who leads a Cabinet task force to conduct post-earthquake reconstruction, also urged the public to spend their Lunar New Year holidays in the county.
The earthquake devastated downtown Hualien City and the county’s Sincheng (新城) and Jian (吉安) townships, but other parts of the county and the scenic areas are unaffected, she said.
The government would provide a NT$30 million relief loan to the hotel industry as part of the support program to help hotels repair damage, Chen said.
Chen also sought to assuage Hualien County Commissioner Fu Kun-chi, who said the Cabinet’s NT$929 million disaster relief fund to the county government was short of the estimated NT$2 billion needed for the reconstruction.
The central government has a reserve fund for disaster relief and could also dip into central tax revenue as a secondary fund, Chen said.
“The central government will not treat Hualien unfairly,” she said.
The task force is to convene its fourth meeting after the holiday to make budget and action plans in accordance with the county government’s damage reports, she said, promising all necessary efforts to assist the county.
Senior judges yesterday met to discuss the constitutionality of a law that makes adultery a criminal offense, before being ordered by Judicial Yuan President Hsu Tzong-li (許宗力) to set a date for a constitutional interpretation within the next month. The judges met to discuss Article 239 of the Criminal Code on offenses against marriage and family, after 18 judges had called for a constitutional interpretation of the issue. Taipei District Court Judge Lin Meng-huang (林孟皇) said that while he had previously tried adultery cases and never questioned the law, his feelings changed when trying a case last year involving baseball star Wang
Instead of hating the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), help change it, KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said, as he urged young people to join efforts to reform the party. As the nation marked Youth Day on Sunday, Chiang said in a Facebook post that he wanted to remind people that “the KMT used to be very young.” Now, when people think of the KMT, they equate it with older people, he wrote. “Even if [the KMT] is a 100-year-old party, it must maintain a young mentality, and understand what young people want and what they want the KMT to do,” Chiang wrote.
TOO TIRED: Investigators found that the pilot’s lack of alertness could be attributed to a lack of sleep the previous night, when he had slept with his child It was a copilot’s inappropriate operation of the aircraft and the pilot’s insufficient alertness that led to a hard landing of a China Airlines cargo flight on Dec. 13, 2018, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday. Flight CI6844, a Boeing 747-409 which departed from Hong Kong International Airport, landed on the pre-threshold area of runway L5 at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, about 21m before the head of the runway, an investigation report said. The hard landing damaged three runway lights, but none of the personnel on board sustained any injuries, the report said. When approaching the runway, the copilot failed to maintain
DISTRUST WARRANTED? The WHO is under China’s control and has become a useless organization, while data from China cannot be trusted, a Control Yuan member said China’s demand that the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, Hubei Province, not be referred to with names like the “Wuhan pneumonia” betrays its lack of confidence in itself, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told lawmakers yesterday. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘) asked Su, during a interpellation at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, for his view on China’s attempts to redeem its national image in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These included China’s efforts to “bleach” its image, including having WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus publicly praise its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, and thanking it for buying time