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Taiwan hotels report high holiday occupancy rates despite COVID surge

Cancellations in most areas stayed below 10% at start of 4-day Tomb Sweeping Festival holiday

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Travelers boarding the ferry to Green Island in Taitung Saturday. 

Travelers boarding the ferry to Green Island in Taitung Saturday.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Despite a surging number of COVID-19 infections, the four-day Tomb Sweeping holiday got off to a strong start Saturday (April 2) with hotels reporting high occupancy rates.

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced 160 new local infections and 244 new imported cases Saturday, both new single-day highs for 2022. Nevertheless, traffic was busy and hotels at major tourist destinations said they were not seeing large-scale cancellations.

Scenic Hualien County on the east coast reported occupancy rates of more than 80% for its hotels and bed and breakfasts, CNA reported. Hospitality businesses there said they had stepped up their epidemic prevention measures, including regular disinfection and real-name registration of staff and visitors.

While about 10% of visitors canceled their hotel reservations, the vacancies were immediately filled up. As a result, the average occupancy rate for the first two days of the April 2-5 holiday approached 90%, officials said.

One factor was the government tourism vouchers set to expire at the end of April, with travelers hurrying to spend them during the last long holiday before the deadline.

Taichung City in central Taiwan was reporting occupancy rates of 90% or above at its major hotels, according to the Liberty Times. Off the southeast coast in Taitung County, Green Island was expecting 3,000 visitors to arrive by ferry Saturday.

However, Kaohsiung City that day reported several COVID-19 infections likely to have occurred during traveling, the Liberty Times reported. A couple in their 20s who had visited the scenic Alishan region of Chiayi County tested positive for COVID after staying at the same hotel as another case. Another couple from Kaohsiung who had toured Hualien and Taitung in their car March 25-28 were also confirmed as having COVID.