Han Kuo-yu: southern Taiwan needs high-capacity intl airport, Kaohsiung Intl Airport not enough

Han's newest proposal to invigorate the economy of southern Taiwan is for Kaohsiung and Pingtung County to re-develop the former Pingtung Airport

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Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu

Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In recent weeks, the new mayor of Kaohsiung, Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) has been proposing a number of new ways to invigorate the economy of southern Taiwan, including a suggestion that foreign tourists visiting Kaohsiung should be subject to an accommodation tax at hotels.

In his recent comments, Han suggested that southern Taiwan needs a high capacity international airport, to facilitate much larger amounts of traffic than Kaohsiung International Airport can handle.

Han suggests that the Kaohsiung City Government and Pingtung County should cooperate to develop a world class international airport serving southern Taiwan. His proposal is to upgrade the older airfield and facilities which previously constituted the Pingtung Airport.

Following Han Kuo-yu’s proposal for the foreigner accommodation tax, Kaohsiung City Council members immediately cast doubt on the proposal noting that the city’s tourism industry is already unstable. Some observers also questioned “how much is reasonable?,” and “is the measure even truly necessary?,” reports LTN.

Immediately following Han’s suggestion of a new Kaohsiung-Pingtung airport, netizens began offering the same criticisms leveled at his plan to tax foreigners.

Pingtung Airport was closed to the public seven years ago because of too few flights and insufficient revenue. After being closed, it was handed over to the Air Force, and now constitutes an important airbase for their operations, reports Liberty Times.

Many observers note that reconfiguring the airfield for the public will be difficult, and even if the investment could be managed to make it a high-capacity international airport, there is no guarantee that it would become a popular destination for international travelers.