Kaohsiung – Southern Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City plans to build itself into a hub for cruise liners to attract more tourists to the city, officials said Tuesday.
Sun Jyh-perng, director of the city’s Marine Bureau, said about 15 cruise ships with some 30,000 tourists call at Kaohsiung port every year. Most passengers are picked up by tour buses and taken to other places, however, so they bring little business to the city.
He added that there are no tourist facilities at Kaohsiung Harbor’s Pier 1 or Pier 2, where most large cruise ships berth, so visitors usually just “pass by” the port.
Sun said that the Marine Bureau is working with the central government’s Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau to create dedicated piers for cruise ships in the harbor and that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications has approved the project. He expects the number of visitors brought in by cruise ships to double once the facilities are completed.
Some NT$2.85 billion (US$89 million) will be invested in the project’s first phase, which will include two berths at least 11 meters deep that are capable of accommodating cruise ships of 70,000-100,000 gross tons each, as well as a terminal building. Construction on the project, which will be able to serve 4,000-5,000 passengers, is scheduled to be finished by 2013, Sun said.
The harbor bureau is now holding an international competition for the terminal’s design so that more detailed planning can begin by the end of the year.
Sun said the city government will host a meeting in August to discuss how to market Kaohsiung as a hub for cruise ships. Industry leaders such as Star Cruises Director William Ng Ko Seng have been invited, Sun said.