Amid a booming cruise market in Asia, Taiwan has seen a record-high number of port calls from international cruise ships this year, which resulted in a new high for revenue from cruise tourism.
As of the end of last month, 363 cruise liners had docked in Taiwan this year, 11.3 percent more than in the same period last year, data from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications showed.
The ships carried 536,000 passengers, a year-on-year growth of 60 percent, of whom 400,000 landed in Keelung.
Taiwan is not the only beneficiary of increasing interest in cruises, data from the Cruise Lines International Association showed, as the regional market saw 8 percent to 9 percent growth this year.
The transportation ministry’s Department of Navigation and Aviation said that cross-strait cruises in particular were boosted.
The department expects to break this year’s record next year, when as many as 412 cruise liners could bring 578,000 passengers.
Assuming each passenger spends US$100 a day in Taiwan, this year’s 536,000 passengers could be worth up to US$53.6 million in tourism revenue, said Wei Shuo-liang (魏碩良), a spokesman for the Port of Keelung at Taiwan International Ports Corp.
Of this year’s passengers, nearly half — 260,000 — were Taiwanese, while Chinese tourists accounted for about 50 percent of overseas passengers, followed by Japanese and American travelers.
Chinese tourists spent the most in Taiwan on average: US$500 per person per day, mostly at duty-free shops and tourism stores.
Most foreign visitors came between May and October, Wei said.
Taiwan International Ports has been aggressively promoting cruise ship tourism and has signed cooperative letters of intent with cruise liners in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Xiamen, Wei said.