Farglory Hotel (遠雄悅來大飯店) and affiliate Farglory Ocean Park (遠雄海洋公園) in Hualien are forecasting a sharp increase in revenue this year as the completion of the Suhua Highway Improvement Project should boost tourism in eastern Taiwan.
The project has cut driving time between Taipei and Hualien by an hour and is expected to increase tourist arrivals by 30 percent to 13 million a year, said Jack Wu (武祥生), new vice chairman at Farglory Recreation and Leisure Business, a unit of Farglory Group (遠雄集團).
The recreation arm is to spend NT$200 million (US$6.68 million) renovating the 18-year-old hotel and the adjacent park in next three to five years to make them more appealing and user-friendly, Wu told a media briefing in Taipei.
A larger crowd should help boost occupancy at Farglory Hotel from 43 percent last year to 60 percent this year, while raising average room rates by NT$1,000 to NT$4,142, hotel general manager Emily Liu (劉惠美) said.
With nearly 400 rooms, the hotel is almost fully booked over the Lunar New Year holiday and is extending promotion offers through the first quarter to ramp up business, Liu said.
Although domestic travelers account for 95 percent of its customers, the hotel is seeking to grow its foreign clientele by 10 percent, as the Hualien County Government is in talks to introduce direct flights from South Korea, Liu said, adding that Hualien is also gaining popularity among Japanese tourists.
Farglory Ocean Park is looking at a 20 percent upturn in tourist visits to 600,000, which would push its revenue by 15 percent to NT$530 million, the park’s general manager Nelson Shen (沈建劭) said.
The 51-hectare facility, known for its dolphin and seal shows, reported a 20 percent in ticket sales last year, after emerging from the blow of a major earthquake in early 2018, Shen said.
The theme park has updated programs at its theater and exhibitions at its aquarium, in addition to allowing guests to play with dolphins to attract customers, Shen said, adding that the benefits of improved transport would be more evident in the summer.
The park plans to sell admission tickets online and install an electronic scan system next month for faster and easier entry for visitors, Shen said.
The two facilities in Hualien represent the beginning of Farglory Group’s interest in the hospitality industry, Wu said.
The conglomerate is about to sign a pact with an international hotel brand to run a new property in Kaohsiung, which might start operations next year, Wu said, declining to give further details.
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