Creative park, new dome bring tourist vibes to Taipei
Taipei, Feb. 9 (CNA) As 2024 unfolds, more and more tourists are expected to visit Taipei and contribute to the increasingly lively atmosphere in the east of the city around the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park and the newly inaugurated Taipei Dome, an area dubbed "Taipei Songyan."
Park director Chen Yu-hsiu (陳玉秀) said in a statement issued on Dec. 31 that the park -- a creative hub in the city -- hoped for co-prosperity with the nearby Taipei dome and that the Taipei Songyan area would contribute to the business activities in the bustling Xinyi District.
Chen added that following the long overdue inauguration of the dome, which took more than three decades to build from scratch in 1991, a new vibe has begun to emerge around Taipei Songyan.
According to park authorities, the dome's two successful trial runs in November and its hosting of the 30th Asian Baseball Championship in early December helped draw in more than 10,000 visitors to the park, which sits just across the street from the dome.
On Dec. 25, Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) marked his first anniversary in office at the multi-purpose stadium, hailing it as a new landmark that could help increase the city's global visibility in its pursuit to become a safe, sporty, and futuristic municipality.
With additional momentum from the dome, the number of visitors to the park in November-December last year rose by 12 percent year-on-year, park statistics showed.
More than 8 million people visited the park in 2023, the highest annual number since its opening in 2011 and a 20-percent increase on the 6.7 million recorded in 2019, statistics showed.
Looking ahead, more than 10 million visitors are likely to pay a call to "Taipei Songyan" in 2024, with a range of activities set to take place at or around the two landmarks in the months ahead, park authorities said.
In March, baseball fans will be able to watch a series of games between Japan's Yomiuri Giants and two of Taiwan's professional baseball teams at the dome to mark the Japanese baseball team's 90th anniversary, park authorities said.
Another eye-catching activity in Taipei Songyan was the soft launch of a 24-hour bookstore run by the Eslite Spectrum Corp. at the park on Jan. 20, the park authorities said.
Sogo City, a mixed-use retail space under Far Eastern Sogo Department Stores, is slated to start operations next to the dome in May, while a cineplex is also scheduled to open there by the end of this year, Sogo Department Stores chairwoman Sophia Huang (黃晴雯) told the press in December last year.
Eyeing the potential for exploding business activities around Taipei Songyan, Huang announced that late last month that the department stores would open a retail complex called Sogo City next to the dome.
According to Huang, Sogo City is scheduled to launch 14 restaurants in May as part of its first-phase development project, with some to run 24 hours, in its bid to create a late-night cluster of activity in the area.
Huang added that Sogo APP users are likely to hit 1.8 million this year, up from the 1.4 million recorded in 2023.
Confident that the opening of the Sogo City would boost the department stores' revenue, Huang said the plan was for the area to collaborate with the local community to transform it into a key driver of rejuvenating other business districts in east Taipei.
Note: The site of Taipei Songyan, a former state-run tobacco factory complex in Songshan, has been redeveloped into two parts -- the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, where some old factory buildings have been turned into exhibition spaces, and the Taipei Dome project, which includes a baseball stadium, retail space, an office building and a hotel.
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