Wed, Jul 03, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Island-hopping tours discussed

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Government officials and cruise ship operators on Monday discussed the possibility of developing island-hopping tours to some of the nation’s outlying islands.

The forum, organized by Taiwan International Ports Corp, the International Cruise Council Taiwan and Genting Hong Kong Ltd, was held on the cruise ship World Dream.

The nation’s outlying islands have rich tourism resources, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said at the forum.

Last year, an island-hopping tour by the cruise ship Caledonian Sky was well-received by travelers, as it allowed them to experience different cultures and ecosystems in the nation’s outlying islands, he said.

In addition to facilities at international seaports, tourism resources on land are crucial in the development of island-hopping tours, Lin said.

The ministry is planning a 10-year development project for a “blue highway,” which would upgrade seaport facilities and develop complementary measures to boost tourism, he said.

Genting Hong Kong founding president and chief executive Colin Au (區福耀) said that Taiwan is in the heart of Asia, and its geographical advantage allows cruise ship operators to develop routes to Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asian countries.

The company is exploring the possibility of an island-hopping tour that would start from Kaohsiung and visit Tainan as well as the outlying counties of Penghu and Lienchiang (Matsu), Au said.

Taiwan International Ports Corp has pledged to work more closely with cruise ship operators, company chairman Wu Tsung-jung (吳宗榮) said, adding that it is upgrading passenger terminal facilities and deepening the wharfs in the Port of Keelung, as well as building a new terminal in Kaohsiung to handle more cruise ship passengers.

The number of Asian cruise ship passengers grew from 3.36 million in 2016 to 4.05 million in 2017, Cruise Line International Association statistics showed.

The number of cruise ship passengers in Taiwan also grew from about 750,000 in 2016 and 980,000 in 2017 to 1.01 million last year, the figures showed.

The growth rate in the past three years reached 34.6 percent, they showed.

World Dream, owned by Genting Hong Kong, yesterday brought about 4,000 visitors from Hong Kong to the Port of Kaohsiung.

It is the largest luxury cruise ship that the port has received.

After the passengers from Hong Kong disembarked, the ship continued to Japan with 4,000 Taiwanese passengers on board.

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