Kaohsiung aiming to boost cruise tourism

Kaohsiung--Taiwan's southern port city of Kaohsiung is hoping to boost cruise tourism this year, targeting visitors from Southeast Asia, Japan and Hong Kong, a senior official said Tuesday.

Kaohsiung Tourism Bureau chief Tseng Tzu-wen said 44 cruises are currently scheduled to dock in Kaohsiung this year and will bring an estimated 120,000 overseas tourists to the city.

A total of 46 cruises docked in Kaohsiung in 2015, but the number plunged to only 14 in 2016, and the city is expecting a rebound this year, according to the city government.

The official was talking up cruise tourism as the city welcomed the SuperStar Virgo, owned and operated by Star Cruises, to the Banana Pier in Kaohsiung on Tuesday. The ship brought 1,800 tourists from Hong Kong and the Philippines to Taiwan.

Tseng said the SuperStar Virgo will be using Kaohsiung as a home port for four months, starting in March.

This will help with Kaohsiung's effort to promote Taiwan's New Southbound Policy, which seeks to advance ties with Southeast, South Asia countries, New Zealand and Australia, she contended.

The city government said it is planning a series of activities to promote Kaohsiung's cruise tourism, including giving gifts to visitors on cruises and working jointly with travel agencies to launch package tours.

There are several ways to explore Kaohsiung, including by bicycle, the metro system, city tour buses and the light rail system, the city said, and its main attractions include the Pier-2 Art Center and the Hamasen Museum of Taiwan Railway.

Each time a cruise docks in the city, it generates about NT$2 million (US$65,699) in tourism revenues, according to Kaohsiung tourism authorities, who are hoping cruise tourism can inject over NT$100 million into the city's economy this year.

Source: Overseas Community Affairs Council