Sat, May 11, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Keelung signs deal for cruise liners to develop tourism

By Lu Hsien-hsiu and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Keelung City Government last week signed a framework agreement with the governments of Kaohsiung, Taitung County and Lienchiang County to contract cruise liners to develop tourism to Taiwan’s outlying islands.

The administrations have contracted a private consultancy to hire foreign industry experts to inspect their harbors and attractions for integration with cruises, Keelung Director-General of Transportation and Tourism Lee Kang (李綱) said.

Smaller cruise liners carrying international visitors would be better suited for the limited capacity of airports and hotels in Mastu, Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼) and Green Island (綠島), Lee said.

Island-hopping cruises of five to seven days operating from Keelung and Kaohsiung could attract high-spending foreign tourists, which would boost the economy, he said.

Inspections of facilities, attractions and routes are expected to be completed by July, before discussions with ocean liner operators would commence, with a pilot program expected to begin next year, he said.

Last year, 940,000 tourists visited Kaohsiung on cruise ships, a number the municipal government hopes to increase to 1 million this year.

The Port of Keelung’s West Passenger Terminal is adding automated customs and a visitor center to its facilities, and is building a second passenger terminal at its West Storage Units No. 2 and 3, the city government said.

The Star, Princess and Costa groups operate cruises from the Port of Keelung, bringing significant revenue to the harbor, industry insiders said, adding that their vessels last year bought NT$600 million (US$19.4 million) in food, up from NT$200 million in 2017.

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