This year's 45-day Taitung International Balloon Festival will open on July 2. Hot air balloons are currently visiting rural schools in Taitung County as part of a new educational program.
A flight team from the Taitung County Government is bringing hot air balloons to rural schools as an educational tool. Students at Donghe Township's Taiyuan Elementary School were thrilled to see a hot air balloon up close.
Huang Kuo-chiang, Principal, Taiyuan Elementary School: “We are teaching students about how hot air balloons were invented, how they fly, and how they are built.”
Yu Ming-hsun, Director, Taitung County Tourism Department: “This allows children to get to know hot air balloons and how they became such an important part of Taitung's tourism industry.”
Attendance at the Taitung International Balloon Festival was affected by the epidemic in the past two years, with over 1.2 million attending in 2020 compared to just 150,000 in 2021. Attendance was restricted to Taitung residents last year. With the epidemic seemingly under control, the county has announced the festival will open for 45 days on July 2 this year. Tourists have already begun planning their trips.
Yu Ming-hsun, Director, Taitung County Tourism Department: “We have already announced it will take place from July 2 to Aug. 15. Many people are looking forward to the festival and people are already making reservations.”
Yu Ming-hsun says hot air balloons are not just a tourist attraction in Taitung. As the East Rift Valley is the only place in Taiwan where hot air balloons can fly, the area has also become a hot air balloon pilot training base. Students benefiting from the hot air balloon program, meanwhile, could very well become the next generation of hot air balloon pilots in Taiwan.