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Taiwan to open two more lighthouses to visitors

2015/02/21 19:50:17

Fong Yuan Lighthouse

Taipei, Feb. 21 (CNA) Taiwan is planning to open another two lighthouses to the public since such structures have become major tourism attractions in the country, the Maritime and Port Bureau (航港局) said Saturday.

The bureau said that by the end of the year, Chimei Yu Lighthouse on Penghu and Fukwei Chiao Lighthouse in New Taipei City will be added to the country's list of lighthouse tourist attractions.

Taiwan has 35 lighthouses, 10 of which are currently open to visitors. The most recent additions to the list of lighthouse tourist sites were Paisha Chia, Lu Tao, Fong Yuan, and Kaomei lighthouses, which were opened to the public over the past two years.

Taiwan's lighthouses serve not only as facilities to protect fishing boats and strengthen security, but also as scenic sites that boost Taiwan's tourism, said the bureau, which is under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (交通部).

Prior to 2013, visitors were allowed into only six of the country's lighthouses -- Eluan Pi, Santiao Chiao, Kaohsiung, Yuweng Tao, Tungchu Tao and Tungyin Tao.

The bureau said that as the number of visitors to the 10 tourism lighthouses has been on the rise, the government has decided to open another two lighthouses to the public.

Chimei Yu and Fukwei Chiao lighthouses will be renovated and their environs upgraded to accommodate tourists, according to the bureau.

The work will include the installation of drink vending machines inside the lighthouses and the construction of public toilets at the sites, the bureau said.

It said that once the number of visitors reaches a certain level, it will consider adding dining facilities.

Last year, 1 million people visited Taiwan's 10 tourism lighthouses, compared with about 880,000 in 2013, according to government statistics.

Eluan Pi Lighthouse on the southern tip of Taiwan has been the most popular, with the number of daily visitors averaging 1,000, many of them Chinese tourists, the bureau said.

The lighthouse, which was built more than 130 years ago during the Qing Dynasty, is surrounded by moats that were designed to prevent invasions by Taiwan's aboriginal people at the time. In 2013, the Maritime and Port Bureau took over management of the country's 35 lighthouses from the Ministry of Finance.

(By Wang Shu-fen and Frances Huang)