Heavy volume of travel during CNY holidays
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- A total of 1.07 million travelers passed through Taiwan's ports during Chinese New Year's holidays, representing a surge of 80,000 people compared to last year, the National Immigration Agency announced yesterday.
February 18, 2013, 12:09 am TWN
During the holiday period, travel volume increased at all major ports and airports, according to government statistics.
On Feb. 16, arrivals and departures in Taiwan totaled 138,142 people — a new record. Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport reported 106,311 travelers on the same day, another record.
Government statistics indicate that for the nine-day period between Feb. 8 and 16, travelers numbered 1,076,223, representing an increase of over 80,000 compared to the 992,717 recorded in 2012.
Meanwhile domestic travel has seen a tremendous growth during this year's Chinese New Year's holidays, most notably in Taitung County where visitors increased by 20 percent compared to last year.
Fong Yuan Elementary School (豐原國小), which features Mediterranean-style architecture, has become a major tourist attraction in Taitung County, drawing in 2,000 to 3,000 daily visitors during the holidays.
Automotive travel into Taitung County during the period between Feb. 9 and 16 increased by 20 percent compared to 2012, with 552,312 vehicles recorded — an increase of 85,857, according to the Taitung County Tourism Department.
Assuming each vehicle carries at least two people, in addition to visitors traveling by air and rail, an estimated 1.2 million visitors inundated Taitung County during the holidays, which represents approximately six times the population of Taitung County.
In Hualien, hotel operators reported a capacity utilization rate of 90 percent for the entirety of the nine-day holiday period, despite disruptions to the Suhwa Highway (蘇花公路).
Hotel owners are ecstatic that fears of the impact of Suhwa Highway's closure have been dispelled. Hotel operators in Hualien indicated that tourists from China made up half of their capacity utilization, which makes domestic travelers an especially important factor in whether operations are profitable.
The number of people visiting the key historical and cultural sites in southern Tainan City also surged by at least 20 percent during the Lunar New Year holidays while the city government reaped more than NT$8 million in revenues from visitors.
Officials supervising cultural heritage and historic sites administration at the Culture Affairs Bureau said more than 280,000 people visited the several major historic and cultural sites in the city during the past few days.
The figure represented an increase of 20,000 people, or 20 percent from the same period last year.
The most popular site was Anping Fort (Anping Gubao, 安平古堡) which was constructed on the ancient foundation of the Dutch stronghold named Fort Zeelandia.
It became the anchor point of early settlements in Tainan for both the Dutch colonists and earlier immigrants from the Chinese mainland.