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Orchid Island sees big jump in tourists

2021/05/11 01:00

Orchid Island, also known as Lanyu, is a 45 square km volcanic island off the southeastern coast of Taiwan's main island. It's considered to have one of the best preserved indigenous tribal communities in Taiwan, despite its rapid modernization in recent years.Because of COVID-19, Taiwanese people's inability to gooverseas, and Orchid Island's natural beauty, it has seen abig increase in tourists there since last year. According to the local government, there were 313,166 arrivals in Orchid Island in 2020, up from about 230,000 a year earlier. That's a 73% increase.Another sign of change: the number of registered guesthouses On the island climbed last year to 146, 20 of which were newly registered. Another 44 applications are pending.That has brought a lot of change to Orchid Island, where thenumber of people in registered households totals only 5,207, and the actual number of residents is 3,500. The influx of tourists has caused headaches for some local people of the Tao or Yami indigenous tribe. The local government says it is working to minimize the impact onthe traditional culture of the Yami people and Orchid Island's ecology,by means such as printing on free maps a list of dos and don'ts when visiting Orchid Island.Si Ngalopkop (aka Liao Ming-de), an Orchid Island Tao tribeman, cultural preservation advocate and small eatery manager recently told CNA about the impact of tourism on the island and its people and the threat it poses if nothing is done to ensure sustainable tourism that preserves the culture and benefits the long-time local residents.

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