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Penghu joins Most Beautiful Bays club

2012/11/13 12:36:02

Paris, Nov. 12 (CNA) The Penghu Islands were approved as a member of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club at a meeting convened by the France-based group Monday.

Galip Gur, the club's president, said Penghu is different and that the people and the Penghu government have made great efforts to make it a beautiful bay, which were key factors in the decision.

A visit by members of the group also convinced them that Penghu should be part of the club.

"If you feel different there, if you feel something comfortable, that means that this place deserves to be a member," Gur told CNA. "And that's how we felt in Penghu from the beginning when we arrived there."

"The things we see there, we don't see anywhere else. That makes the place beautiful," he said.

Gur also expressed the hope that Penghu could achieve a balance between tourism and environmental protection.

Penghu was first invited to join the club in 2010 but could not because it was unable to attend the club's annual congress in Vietnam due to the obstruction of China.

The outlying county, located off Taiwan's southwestern coast in the Taiwan Strait, was invited to attend this year's annual congress in Turkey and Greece in September and formally applied to join the organization on that occasion.

Following the approval of Penghu's application at Monday's meeting in Paris, the island chain will be formally inducted into the club at its annual meeting next year and be given a "Most Beautiful Bay in the World" certificate.

The club, founded in 1997, is a UNESCO-sponsored nongovernmental organization dedicated to promoting the preservation and sustainable management of coastal areas.

It is currently comprised of some 37 bays spread across 28 countries and territories across the globe, including San Francisco Bay, China's Qingdao Bay, Vietnam's Halong Bay and Mont Saint-Michel in France.

(By Tsai Hsiao-yin and Lilian Wu)