Pokémon GO event in southern Taiwan draws 500,000 trainers, rakes in NT$500 million

5-day Pokémon GO Safari Zone event draws in 500,000 trainers, rakes in NT$500 million for city of Tainan

  3511
Family of four dressed as Pikachu. (Photo from Travel Tainan)

Family of four dressed as Pikachu. (Photo from Travel Tainan)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The five-day Pokémon GO Safari Zone event, which wraps up in Tainan, Taiwan today, has attracted over 500,000 trainers (Pokémon GO players) and brought in an estimated NT$500 million (US$16 million) to the city.

On Thursday, the opening day of "Pokémon GO Safari Zone in Tainan," 65,000 eager trainers were present at the main venues, and over 100,000 in Tainan City as a whole. On Saturday, the number of trainers had climbed to 300,000 and by the end of the day today, the finally tally of trainers visiting Tainan for the event is expected to reach 500,000, according to UDN.

Over the weekend, Tainan's scenic spots, hotels, and restaurants were all inundated with treasure-hunting trainers. Lee Wen-hsiung (李文雄), the owner of the popular shaved ice store Lily Fruit (莉莉水果) told TVBS that business had increased by 20 percent because the Confucius Temple, which is across the street from his shop, was one of the major hunting grounds visited by trainers.


(Photo from Tourism Bureau of Tainan City Government)

Chen Chih-ming (陳志明), head of the Historic Site Operations Section of the Tainan Cultural Affairs Bureau said to TVBS that, early on in the planning for the event, it was decided that players would be allowed to hunt for Pokémon without buying tickets to enter venues involved. However, because of the massive crowds, the surrounding tourist attractions also saw a massive uptick in ticket sales, with Fort Provintia seeing a 50 percent increase in ticket sales, and attractions a bit further away such as Fort Zeelandia seeing a 20 to 30 percent increase.

Tainan City Tourism Bureau Director Wang Shih-ssu (王時思) told UDN that the traffic jams were the most challenging aspect of the event. Although traffic controls had been enforced around the area, it still caused much inconvenience for local residents.

Wang said she was very sorry for causing inconvenience for local residents during the five-day event. However, she said the the city had been communicating with local businesses and residents over the event for the past two years.


(Photo from Tourism Bureau of Tainan City Government)

Wang said most did not believe the response would be so enormous, saying things like "Will there be a wave of so many people?" and "Hasn't the Pokémon fever already broken?"

Wang said the success of the Pokémon Go event in Tainan may encourage other cities to emulate it. However, she said that it will not be easy to replicate, because it not only necessitated the widespread participation in communication with local residents, but also required a strong team to manage it.

Wang thanked her colleagues at the Tourism Bureau of Tainan City Government and emphasized that the most important thing is that these colleagues themselves are also players, so that they could devote great enthusiasm to hosting the event. Organizers originally estimated that 200,000 visitors would attend the five-day event, however, by the end of the first day, 100,000 trainers had already arrived in the city.


(Photo from Tourism Bureau of Tainan City Government)

It is now estimated that the total of treasure-hunting trainers attending the event will reach 500,000, from both Taiwan and abroad. Wang had originally estimated that the event would bring NT$500 million to the city, but she now believes this number will be revised upward.

Wang said she will wait for the Taiwan Tourism Bureau to provide data on the visitors and the amount they spent during the event in Tainan. She said that for the first time, Niantic, the American software development company which created the game, cooperated with the local government, but did not receive any royalties, instead focusing on the event as a way to expand its brand.

Niantic requested all the details of the events planned, and it was the Tainan City government which invested a great deal of time and manpower to prepare for the event. Because Niantic placed great emphasis on a systematic approach to managing the event, in addition to calling for dispatching of Taiwan Railways Administration personnel, traffic police, and paramedics, the Tainan city government also asked the telecommunications industry to strengthen the Wi-Fi communications in the main venues and surrounding area.


(Photo from Tourism Bureau of Tainan City Government)

In addition, to encouraging visitors to spend in the local economy, the Tainan City government persuaded 111 businesses to offer discounts to trainers for things such as food, accommodations, souvenirs, tours of factories, and scenic areas, with the hope this would incentivize them to stay overnight or increase their willingness to purchase goods.

An estimated NT$3.6 million was spent on the preparations for the event, but it brought in more than 100 times that investment in the form of revenues for the city.


(Photo from Tourism Bureau of Tainan City Government)


(Photo from Tourism Bureau of Tainan City Government)


(Photo from Tourism Bureau of Tainan City Government)


(Photo from Tourism Bureau of Tainan City Government)