Taiwan sees strong growth in cruise tourism

2017/08/11 19:44:55 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
File photo

File photo

Taipei, Aug. 11 (CNA) The number of cruise ships and cruise ship passengers visiting Taiwan in the first seven months of 2017 has shown strong year-on-year growth, transport officials said Friday, adding that the market prospects look good because more cruise liners have been including Taiwanese ports in their home-port operations.

A total of 404 cruise ships sailed in and out of Taiwan between January and July, up 34.2 percent from the same period of last year, said Yeh Hsieh-lung (葉協隆), deputy director of the Transport Ministry's Department of Navigation and Aviation.

The number of passengers during that period grew by 26.5 percent to reach 582,000, Yeh said.

Among these passengers, 30,328 were from foreign countries, breaking the ministry's goal of 25,000.

Southeast Asian passengers topped the "fly-cruise" market at 34.2 percent, followed by 28.3 percent from Hong Kong and Macau, and 10.3 percent from Japan.

Yeh said that the number of cruise liners and passengers traveling to and from Taiwan throughout 2017 are expected to hit 600 and 1 million, respectively.

The future of Taiwan's cruise tourism also seems promising, he said.

"There have been more international cruise liners showing interest in Taiwan," Yeh said, giving examples that big brands such as Star, Princess and Costa cruise lines have all designated the northern port of Keelung as one of their home ports since the beginning of this year.

To make Keelung even more attractive, he said, Taiwan International Ports Corp. is also renovating two of the warehouses in the port to accommodate more passengers and their luggage.

Yeh said the NT$550 million (US$18.1 million) renovation project will connect the two historic buildings and turn them into a six-floor building that features a much bigger lobby, restaurants, outdoor space for activities and performances, as well as a market for creative products.

The project, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2018, will increase the port's transport capacity from 400 passengers per hour to 1,500, he said.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)
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