Taiwanese island group sees upsurge in tourism

More visitors arrived in Penghu in July than during previous six months combined

Ferry passengers in Penghu on Aug. 1 

Ferry passengers in Penghu on Aug. 1  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Penghu, the archipelago to the west of Taiwan’s main island, received more visitors in July than during the six previous months combined, reports said Friday (Aug. 14).

As the impact of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) in Taiwan lessens while overseas travel remains difficult, more Taiwanese are traveling around the country, often heading for small islands such as Green Island and Orchid Island in the southeastern county of Taitung.

Holidaymakers are also headed in the other direction, traveling by ship or plane to Penghu County, in the middle of the Taiwan Strait, CNA reported. The islands welcomed 290,000 visitors in July compared to 182,860 in July of last year.

July's total also exceeded the 269,645 visitors recorded between January and June of this year. During the first half of the year, the number of tourists heading for Penghu fell month after month, while during the period of January-June 2019, a total of 862,322 tourists visited the islands.

The sudden upsurge in July was the result of the summer holidays, an international fireworks festival, and government programs to support domestic tourism, according to CNA.

The county government asked visitors to practice social distancing and other infection-prevention measures and promised there would be no water or power shortages. The islands are perfectly capable of handling the uptick in visitors, officials said.