East coast tourism dips before CNY

Waves of train ticket refunds following earthquake

Plenty of seats available on eastbound trains. (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As damages are being totaled in the wake of the earthquake in Hualien last week, tourism industries along the east coast continue to incur losses.

The Taiwan Rail Association (TRA) estimates that from Feb. 8 through Feb. 11 around 10,000 train tickets were refunded per day, 20% more than normal, reports CNA.

When the earthquake first hit on Feb. 6, ticket refunds were around 8,000 per day. By Feb. 8 they increased to 10,000 per day and are said likely to reach around 9,000 on Feb. 11.

Vice Director of TRA Affairs, Chen Yu-mou (陳裕謀), frankly said that it is not hard to purchase a ticket these days, including finding a seat on the Puyuma Express (普悠瑪列車) or the Taroko Express (太魯閣列車).

Many hotels also incurred losses on refunded rooms.

With the Lunar New Year holiday fast approaching, however, the Vice Director predicts the decline in sales will quickly reverse as people plan to return home.