Despite the decline in visitors and revenue, Cingshuei Freeway Service Area (清水服務區) in Taichung once again topped the annual list of 15 freeway service areas for the most money earned during the Lunar New holiday.
From Lunar New Year’s Eve, on Feb. 4, to Feb. 9, Cingshuei revenue totaled NT$36.96 million (US$1.2 million), down from NT$37.33 million last year, Freeway Bureau statistics showed.
A total of 196,000 people visited the service area over that period, down 3.13 percent from last year, but Cingshuei was still No.1 in terms of business revenue, the bureau said.
Photo courtesy of the Freeway Bureau
The Guansi (關西) Service Area in Hsinchu County came in second with NT$20.18 million, followed by the Dongshan (東山) Service Area in Tainan with NT$19.88 million, it said.
The Cingshuei Service Area has an advantage in it is accessible to southbound and northbound traffic, but it also has some unique facilities to attract visitors, including a mini-aquarium tunnel atop the stairs to its food court and a night-time fountain show, it said.
However, Cingshuei might have reached its maximum potential unless it adds new attractions, which its management is trying to do, the bureau said.
The total revenue earned by the 15 service areas along the National Sun Yat-Sen Freeway (Freeway No. 1), Formosa Freeway (Freeway No. 3) and Chiang Wei-shui Freeway (Freeway No. 5) over the long Lunar New Year holiday grew by 2.41 percent to reach NT$210.8 million, the bureau said.
Visitors rose by 3.57 percent to hit 1.46 million, it said.
Cingshuei also topped its peers in terms of total revenue for last year, at NT$707.92 million, followed by Siluo (西螺) Service Area in Yunlin County with NT$412.78 million and Guansi with NT$380.19 million.
The overall growth in revenue from NT$3.22 billion in 2012 to NT$4.06 billion last year was the results of a policy implemented in 2011 that requires service area contractors to provide food and services for ordinary travelers.
The bureau has encouraged the service areas to cultivate their own characteristics, a policy that has proven popular with travelers.
Since 2013, service areas have established weekend farmers’ markets to showcase produce from independent farmers.
Revenue earned by the farmers grew from NT$1.9 million in the first year, to NT$41 million in 2017 and NT$66 million last year, the bureau said.
In related news, President Chain Store Corp was chosen as the official contractor for the Taian Service Area in Taichung, which officially reopens on Friday next week, the bureau said yesterday.
The area is an important stop on Freeway No. 1 in central Taiwan, and has grown from just selling lunchboxes and beverages to offering multiple services to travelers, the bureau said.
Under the bureau’s renovate-operate-transfer model, President Chain Store is renovating the Taian lobby to add more seats for diners, as there is high demand for seating on weekends and major national holidays, the bureau said.
The lobby is scheduled to formally reopen in June, but would be open temporarily over the long 228 holiday next week, it said.
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