Ban on cruise ship port calls will hurt Taiwan tourism: port authority

02/06/2020 07:41 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 6 (CNA) Taiwan might not be able to meet its target of attracting 1 million cruise ship tourists this year, now that the government has banned port calls by international cruise liners to prevent an escalation of the Wuhan virus, Taiwan International Port Corporation (TIPC) said Thursday.

Based on the government's decision, which was announced earlier in the day, TIPC trimmed its 2020 forecast for cruise ship visitor arrivals from 1 million to 961,000.

With the ban on cruise liners, the TIPC said, the total number of cruise ships for the year is likely to be around 543 instead of the 665 it had estimated earlier.

The port authority said 100 cruise liners carrying a total of 131,000 passengers were expected to make port calls in Keelung in northern Taiwan between Feb. 6 and the end of March. 10 ships with a total of 11,000 visitors were scheduled to dock at Kaohsiung Port in the south, while 2 ships with 2,200 passengers were slated to dock at the Port of Hualien.

The loss of those 144,000 cruise ship passengers would make it difficult for the government to achieve its goal of 1 million cruise liner tourist arrivals this year, the port authority said.

Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center announced earlier Thursday that international cruise liners would not be allowed to make port calls in Taiwan, with immediate effect, as the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was showing no signs of abating across the globe.

The decision followed a report Thursday that a Taiwanese woman traveling on the Diamond Princess cruise liner was among 20 passengers infected with the Wuhan coronavirus, after the ship arrived in Japan on a round trip cruise that included a 10-hour stop in Taiwan's Keelung Port on Jan. 31.

The ship, carrying 2,666 passengers and 1,045 crew members, has been quarantined off the coast of Yokohama, Japan, since it returned to port there on Monday.

As of Thursday, over 28,000 infections and 566 deaths from the 2019-nCoV, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, had been reported, mostly in China.

(By Flor Wang and S.F. Wang)

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