Penghu will launch a series of tourism initiatives to promote its natural resources, with one of its bays set to become a formal member of the Most Beautiful Bays Club later this year, tourism officials said yesterday.
A year-round campaign will feature Penghu’s seascape and its l location on the Tropic of Cancer, according to the Penghu National Scenic Area Administration. The island chain off the nation’s southwestern coast lies at latitude 23.5 degrees north, exactly on the Tropic of Cancer.
“Penghu needs to establish itself as a world-famous tourist destination after its entry into the Most Beautiful Bays Club,” administrative officer Chen Shun-hsu said.
The France-based club last year approved membership of Penghu Bay, which will be formally inducted at the club’s annual meeting in April.
The new promotion initiatives this year will focus on Penghu’s tropical ambience and its relationship with the sea, Chen said.
In addition, Penghu’s popular tourism attractions, such as bird-watching, wind-surfing, firework displays and basalt cliff study tours, will be integrated into the program, he said.
One of the noteworthy events is a festival that will be held on June 21 to celebrate the summer solstice, when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer at noon, Chen said.
Only 16 countries straddle that exact latitude, Chen said, adding that it was hoped the island’s geographical location would particularly appeal to tourists from cold countries. The festival will include a keel boat race between Penghu’s Magong Port and Hujing Islet (虎井嶼), which is 7 nautical miles (13km) from the port.
In winter, activities for war game lovers will be organized, since there are dozens of military sites that can be used to simulate battlefields, he said.
“We would like to call it a survivor series,” Chen said, adding that it could attract more than 300 tourists per year.
Visitor arrivals to Penghu average 850,000 per year, but only about 10 percent are international, according to the local government.
In an effort to attract more foreign tourists, county officials said that they would head to Singapore and Malaysia this year.
Penghu’s cultural and natural attractions include the Twin Heart stone weir in Cimei Township (七美), Jibei sand spit in Baisha Township (白沙), the basalt columns on Tongpan Islet (桶盤嶼) and a diverse marine ecology.