Beach town in south Taiwan sees hotel occupancy reach 80% amid coronavirus fears

Villas twice as popular as in previous years

Beach in Kenting (Kenting National Park photo) 

Beach in Kenting (Kenting National Park photo) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic wreaks havoc on foreign travel, southern Taiwan’s beach resort of Kenting is about to see record crowds, reports said Friday (March 27).

Hotels and bed and breakfasts in the Pingtung town are seeing 80 percent to 95 percent bookings for the Tomb Sweeping Holiday, which will run April 2-5, CNA reported. There are no special discounts planned for the holiday period, according to hotel managers.

Most of the bookings are concentrated around Thursday, April 2 and Friday, April 3. As the pandemic expands, there has been a move away from hotel rooms and to independent villas, with one business seeing its occupancy rate for villas double from the 40 percent reached during previous years to 80 percent for the upcoming holiday.

The management of a local national park said that while the number of visitors has declined over the past few years, improvements have been made that allow for quality over quantity.

Nature lovers now have 30 routes at their disposal to crisscross the area, and the park has ramped up its advertising by comparing Kenting to Japan’s Mount Fuji and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, telling travelers that they can see similar scenery without having to run the risk of contracting the coronavirus on a long flight, CNA reported.