The Taiwan Lantern Festival is to be held in Kaohsiung in 2022 and in Taipei in 2023, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said yesterday.
The Tourism Bureau had formed a selection committee to choose the cities to host the festival in 2022 and 2023, with Tainan and Kaohsiung showing an interest in hosting the festival in 2022 — the Year of the Tiger on the Chinese Zodiac.
However, as Tainan did not submit a business plan for the event, the committee handed the right to host the flagship tourism event in 2022 to Kaohsiung, it said.
Photo: Yu Chao-fu, Taipei Times
The Kaohsiung City Government’s plan is to hold the main lantern exhibit at the Asia New Bay Area, a 600-hectare property at the Port of Kaohsiung that the city is using to attract foreign investments, the bureau said.
The National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, also known as the Weiwuying (衛武營), would also be a major exhibition area, it said.
For the festival in 2023, which would be the Year of the Rabbit, the bureau had invited the governments of Taipei, New Taipei City, Keelung and Yilan County to submit plans for the event.
The committee reviewed the proposals based on several criteria, including transportation systems, hotels and accommodation capacity, safety management, marketing strategies and fundraising ability, it said.
Taipei’s plan was ranked first by the committee, with its proposed main exhibition area covering major tourist attractions surrounding the Taipei City Hall, including the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, Hsinyi Special Area and Forty-Four South Village.
The last time that Taipei and Kaohsiung hosted the annual lantern festival was in 2000 and 2002 respectively.
Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) had approved the committee’s decision, the ministry said, adding that the Executive Yuan would give its final approval.
The bureau created the Taiwan Lantern Festival in 1990, which has since become one of the nation’s major tourism events. The festival was held in Taipei from 1990 to 2000, and in Kaohsiung in 2001 and 2002. Starting in 2003, local governments alternated in hosting the event.
In other news, the nation’s eastern and southern regions remain the favorite travel destinations during the New Year long weekend, bureau statistics showed.
The same trend was seen in the summer break, as well as the Mid-Autumn Festival and Double Ten National Day holidays, as international travel remain restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of Wednesday last week, the average hotel occupancy rate from Dec. 31 to Jan. 2 in the eastern region was 62 percent, the highest among the regions, the bureau said.
The southern and central regions ranked second and third, with an average hotel occupancy rate of 49 percent and 47 percent respectively, it added
Meanwhile, the average hotel occupancy rate is 40 percent in Taipei and 21 percent in the nation’s outlying islands, it said.
Among hotels on the east coast, those in Taitung County have the highest occupancy rates, which might have something to do with pop diva A-mei’s (阿妹) New Year Eve’s concert at the International Landmark Seaside Park in Taitung City, the bureau said.
The Taitung County Government also said that the county expects more than 50,000 travelers to visit during the New Year holiday, adding that 40,000 people planning to attend the concert have already signed health declaration forms online.
The average hotel occupancy rate in the outlying islands is lower in the winter due to the weather, the bureau said.
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