Taiwan’s domestic tourism and hotel industries are suffering from the COVID-19 outbreak. However, campsites emphasizing their locations within the great outdoors, are bucking the trend. Bookings are stable and even on the up, with some sites reporting they are already fully-booked through to the Dragon Boat Festival. Those within the industry believe the reason for the increased interest is mainly because guests are able drive to campsites under their own steam, thereby negating the need to use public transport. Additionally, campsites allow guests to enjoy an entire day outdoors without the usual frenetic itinerary, dashing from one scenic spot to another. Guests can relax in relative isolation, far from the madding crowd and the airless confines of a hotel room.
Yilan County’s hotel industry has seen a sharp decline in the number of bookings this month, while the usually thriving five-star hotel sector is reporting that room occupancy rates have slumped to 30 percent. Many of the smaller sized hotels are encouraging their staff to take annual leave and even closing for refurbishment as a way to reduce wage costs.
Wang Jung-sung runs Syano Campsite in Yilan County’s Datong Township accomodates a total of 18 pitches. The campsite has been able to maintain a stable occupancy rate during weekdays throughout the virus outbreak — even increasing occupancy by 30 percent during weekends — and Wang says he currently has bookings all the way up to the Dragon Boat Festival. Wang adds that parents and children alike enjoy the act of camping: everything from pitching the tent and cooking meals fills the day with a full set of fun activities.
Photo: Chang Yi-cheng, Liberty Times
Taiwan has undergone a camping trend in recent years, with campsites throughout the nation experiencing rapid growth. There are approximately 80 campsites in Yilan County, most of which are clustered around Jiaosi, Toucheng, Datong and Nanao townships. Chen Chun-yu, director of the Yilan County Camping Industry Development Council, says that the council’s members have not yet experienced any impact from the COVID-19 outbreak. Conversely, Chen says members have actually seen an increase in business and adds that there will be opportunities for expansion in the near future with more people traveling outside of urban areas as a way to escape the epidemic.
(Translated by Edward Jones, Taipei Times)
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