Temperatures to rise, fall
Temperatures are expected to rise around the nation today due to a warm air mass brought by southeasterly winds, but will begin to fall again tomorrow with the arrival of a cold front, the Central Weather Bureau said. Temperatures nationwide will dip even further between Sunday and Wednesday, with the north expected to see lows of 11?C, the bureau added. Today, lows are expected to drop to 14?C in northern Taiwan and 17?C to 19?C in southern, central and eastern areas. However, daytime highs could exceed 22?C around the nation, with the south experiencing highs of up to 26?C. Temperatures are to continue dipping tomorrow, with a good chance of rain in northern and eastern Taiwan, while other regions will experience increasingly cloudy weather. Snow is likely on Yushan (玉山) and Hehuanshan (合歡山), the bureau said.
Artisans to be center stage
For its turn hosting the annual Taiwan Lantern Festival, Nantou County is putting local craftsmanship at center stage starting with a soft opening today. The festival, which partially opens today and will be in full swing from Friday next week until Feb. 23, will integrate pottery, stonework, bamboo and glass arts from 20 artisans into the lantern displays, Nantou County Deputy Commissioner Chen Tze-ching (陳志清) said. As with years past, the festival’s centerpiece will be a massive lantern based on the Chinese zodiac. This year’s lantern is a 23m tall, 30 tonne horse to mark the arrival of the Year of the Horse. Illuminated from the inside by 200,000 LED bulbs, it is the tallest main lantern ever to be featured at the Taiwan Lantern Festival. It will be lit on Friday next week.
Domestic travel up 13%
The number of people who traveled domestically during the Lunar New Year holidays reached 10 million, thanks largely to good weather, the Tourism Bureau said yesterday. Taiwan saw a 13 percent jump in the total volume of domestic travelers during the Jan. 30 to Feb. 4 holiday compared with the 2011 holiday, which also lasted for six days, the bureau said. The travel boom has generated revenue estimated at more than NT$10 billion (US$336 million), it said. The most significant travel growth was in the east of the nation, where the number of visitors more than doubled to 1.1 million, owing to improvements in the region’s rail system, tourism officials said. A Tourism Bureau campaign that asked 22 amusement parks across Taiwan to offer a 50 percent discount to those born in the Year of the Horse also yielded benefits, attracting 640,000 tourists, 14 percent growth compared with 2011.
Leisure farms to be pushed
The Council of Agriculture said yesterday it will focus on promoting the nation’s leisure farms as a tourist attraction to help generate revenue of NT$11 billion (US$36.3 million) in the industry this year. In a report, the council said it plans to portray Taiwan as an agricultural park to attract more local and international visitors to the country’s leisure farms. As part of its plan, it said it will seek to integrate high quality leisure farms, nurture talent, improve service, explore product diversification and expand the leisure tourism market. The number of visitors to leisure farms in Taiwan increased from 9.59 million in 2008 to 20 million last year, Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) said. Last year, foreign visitors accounted for 260,000 of the total, up from 63,700 in 2008, he added.