Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s Voyager of the Seas
Taipei, June 16 (CNA) Royal Caribbean International signed a memorandum of understanding with Taiwan International Ports Co. (TIPC) Monday to invest NT$1 billion (US$33.3 million) in building a pier in outlying Penghu County to accommodate the cruise liner's vessels.
The world's largest cruise company said the new facility, scheduled to start operations in April 2016, could host its 225,000-ton Oasis of the Seas, which is the world's biggest cruise ship.
The partnership will mark the single most important foreign tourism investment in Taiwan, Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih said during the signing ceremony, adding that a formal contract will be sealed in December.
The pier will be Royal Caribbean International's first construction project in Asia and it will own a 51 percent share, while the remainder will be owned by TIPC.
The investment will not only boost travel to Penghu but will also raise Taiwan's profile as a cruise destination, as it is likely to increase the number of tourists visiting the country's other ports such as Keelung, Taichung, Kaohsiung and Hualien, TIPC said.
There is also a possibility that the company will build another pier in Penghu, which will bring its total investment up to NT$3 billion, Yeh revealed.
In addition, the U.S.-based company will consider building a recreation area there to further promote cruise tourism, he said.
(By Wang Shu-fen and Lee Hsin-Yin)