Government doesn't fund
By Adam Tyrsett Kuo ,The China Post
November 27, 2012, 12:49 am TWN
Taipei City Government said yesterday that the annual Taipei 101 New Year's Eve firework display is not covered by the city's budget and that the event not only helps promote Taiwan to the global community, but it also has various economic benefits.
Given that financial stability is the basis of sustainable development, the heads of local governments should try increasing their revenue and decreasing their expenditure, said Finance Minister Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和), adding that New Year's Eve events can be held in moderation, but local governments should refrain from spending too much money on them.
In response, Taipei's Department of Information and Tourism Commissioner Chao Hsin-ping (趙心屏) said that the city's budget for its New Year's Eve event is set at NT$8 million, lower than Hualien's NT$13.3 million and Kaohsiung's NT$9 million.
With regard to the Taipei 101 fireworks display, Chao stressed that the event is not covered by city expenses.
Taipei's New Year's Eve event has attracted more and more people over the years, reaching as much as 800,000 attendees, the commissioner said, adding that the event is not only highly anticipated by citizens but also by members of the international media.
It is an important opportunity for Taiwan to gain exposure in the global community, Chao added.
Furthermore, together with Christmas activities, the New Year's Eve event helps attract tourists to Xinyi Commercial Center, spurring consumption and boosting the tourism industry, the commissioner explained.
For example, hotels within the Xinyi Commercial Center begin offering packages for New Year's Eve from July and August, Chao said, adding that room occupancy at these hotels reached as high as 70 percent in the second half of 2011, generating more than NT$280 million in revenue, which is an increase of NT$60 million compared to the first half.
There are obvious economic benefits of the New Year's Eve event, Chao reiterated.
2013 New Year's Eve Firework Display
According to local reports, Taipei 101 will be cooperating with French firm Group F this year for its New Year's Eve fireworks display. The event is estimated at NT$30 million and will last 188 seconds.
According to the organizers, this year's event will include three features — substantial carbon emission reduction, remote activation and musical accompaniment.
Taipei 101 spokesman Liu Chia-hao said that the annual event was previously held in cooperation with Taiwanese firms, but ever since Europe's economy was caught in a slump, many European firms have looked outside of their continent for business opportunities.
Group F won the bid after Taipei 101's careful examination, Liu said, adding that the French firm has staged firework displays on the Eiffel Tower and Dubai's Burj Khalifa, which is currently the world's tallest building.
The company has great experience in organizing firework displays on skyscrapers, and it will undoubtedly do a good job on the Taipei 101 project, Liu said.
In accordance with Taipei 101's green policy, the event's carbon emission will be reduced by two-thirds as compared to previous years, amounting to a mere 4,500 kilograms, Liu said.
The organizers also explained that the fireworks will be made in Spain and then assembled in France before being transported to Taiwan.
This year will also be the first time that the display is activated remotely, which will help reduce the amount of fuses and wires used in the event to help ensure better accuracy, Liu said.