Lantern festivals are being held all over Taiwan in the hopes of attracting tourists during the upcoming holiday. The Kaohsiung Lantern Festival will be held at Lotus Pond for the first time this year, and the city is offering subsidies to tour groups that stay in the city overnight.
Yanshui's Yuejin Lantern Festival opened on the 8th to the delight of locals and tourists alike. With the Spring Festival approaching, cities and counties all over Taiwan are holding lantern festivals. The Kaohsiung Lantern Festival, currently in its 22nd year, will be held at Lotus Pond for the very first time.
Chang Mei-hua, Old Commercial District Development Association Chair: “The Kaohsiung Lantern Festival is in its 22nd year, and is being held at Lotus Pond for the first time. This is a gift from heaven for local businesses or residents, and we are all very excited about the event and the tourists it will bring to our community. ”
Lotus Pond is one of Kaohsiung's top tourist destinations, but local businesses have struggled for the past three years due to the pandemic. The Lunar New Year holiday is the only time of year when the area has seen tourists. During the Lantern Festival, the city government will be offering up to NT$6,000 in subsidies for tour groups that stay overnight in Kaohsiung while also visiting temples in Zuoying.
Ms. Chen, Local Vendor: “We had no customers during the epidemic and we were dependent on tour bus customers. We're starting to see some tourists again now.”
Ms. Hu, Tour Guide: “I will talk to my company about the subsidy program. (So that tour groups say in Kaohsiung longer?) Yes.”
Temples are one of Zuoying's top tourism draws, and local vendors hope the Lantern Festival will bring large crowds to the area. Tour guides, meanwhile, say there simply aren't enough attractions in Kaohsiung to convince tourists to stay longer and the subsidies could be an incentive for travel agencies to promote Kaohsiung tours more.