Residents of small Taiwanese island complain about too many tourists

Green Island faces overcrowding, traffic problems and fully booked ferries

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Travelers lining up to board the ferry to Green Island 

Travelers lining up to board the ferry to Green Island  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — While foreign travel in most parts of the world is still impossible due to the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, residents of Green Island in Taitung County are complaining about being overwhelmed by the numbers of tourists.

Over the past 11 days, a total of 60,000 people visited the island off southeast Taiwan, or 60 times its regular population, CNA reported Saturday (July 25). Tickets for the ferry from Taiwan’s main island were already sold out for the period from Aug. 1 through 6, leading residents to call on travelers to stay away.

Reasons for the sudden surge in visitors included the slowdown of the virus pandemic in Taiwan, stimulus measures by the government to boost local consumption as well as domestic travel, and the absence of severe storms one month into the annual typhoon season.

The rush has also angered island residents who found out they would be unable to leave and visit relatives and friends on Taiwan’s main island, even in nearby Taitung, early next month, CNA reported. Orchid Island, also in Taitung County but further away, has also seen similar scenes, with 30,000 travelers visiting between July 15 and 25.

Residents of Green Island have complained about the number of scooters, and about the behavior of the tourists parking the motorcycles in front of doors and alleyways. On Orchid Island, the main concern has been increased pressure on the power network, with three blackouts occurring in June.