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Holidaymakers flock to Xiaoliuqiu at start of long festival weekend

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People queue to board ships for Xiaoluiqiu

People queue to board ships for Xiaoluiqiu (CNA photo)

Visitors on Thursday arrived in droves at Taiwan's offshore Liuqiu Island, commonly called Xiaoliuqiu on the first day of the long Mid-Autumn Festival holiday.

The number of passengers departing from Dongliu FerryTerminal in Pingtung County's Donggang had surpassed 10,000 as of 2 p.m. Thursday, Coast Guard Administration (CGA) statistics showed.

According to the Southern Branch of CGA, controls were ramped up at the Dongliu terminal to prevent ferry operators from carrying too many passengers, while reminding people to wear masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chi Ching-sheng (冀慶生), who manages the Taifu ferry service between the two destinations, said he anticipates the number of passengers to increase significantly on Friday.

Due to the long four-day festival weekend, people most likely prefer to stay home on the first day and spend time with family, or barbecuing, which is a popular activity during the Mid-Autumn Festival, Chi said.

Meanwhile, Howard Beach Resort Kenting manager ChangChi-kuang (張積光), said with most people unable to travel abroad due to the pandemic, domestic tourism has been on the up in recent months.

Xiaoliuqiu is a coral island about 13 kilometers southwest of Taiwan. In recent years, the island has seen an explosion in the number of tourists who make the short journey by ferry to its shores to dive and snorkel.