CONY Tea Gard located at Xinyi District and 2023 Taiwan Lantern Festival's main lantern, the 22-meter-tall "Brilliant Light of the Jade Hare," is located at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei.

TAIPEI, TAIWAN —  The celebration of Taiwan’s 34th Lantern Festival officially kicked off last Sunday (5 Feb) in Taipei, which also marked the starting of the island’s tourism in 2023 after global-wide COVID-19 pandemic disruption.

The Taiwan Lantern Festival was first created by the Tourism Bureau of the Transportation and Communications Ministry in 1990. It has returned to the capital for the first time in 23 years, celebrating the theme “Light Up the Future”.

Taiwan Tourism Bureau director-general Chang Shi-Chung said the celebration signifies Taiwan’s return to pre-pandemic normalcy.

“After three years (of the Covid-19 pandemic), we are having this one of these ‘World Night View’ heritage events.”

“This signifies that Taiwan’s return to normalcy. We are hoping for the tourism industry to bounce back,” Chang said during a press conference on Monday.

Taiwan beefs up effort to boost tourism

Mr Zhang revealed that Taiwan is targeting for the total foreign visitors to Taiwan in 2023 to reach 50 per cent of the pre-pandemic recorded in 2019, and achieve a total of 11.86 million visitors in 2024.

According to Taipei Times, Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai also announced that the Taiwan government will spend NT$6 billion (US$200.69 million) on incentives to attract more than 6 million international tourists to Taiwan this year.

These include offering free high-speed rail tickets with purchases of plane tickets to Taiwan, vouchers for tourists to exchange for fresh fruit at convenience stores, half-day tours for transit passengers and a NT$500 electronic payment card such as an EasyCard or iPass for independent travellers.

First large-scale public event after the pandemic

For the first time, the Lantern Festival will be a truly “urban” lantern festival,” scheduled to be held in the densely populated areas of Taipei City, where works will be exhibited among high-rise buildings and lights will illuminate the city’s streets and alleys. The lantern festival is also Taiwan’s first large-scale public event after the pandemic.

There will be more than 300 exhibits and 12 administrative lantern areas, with an exhibition area of 168 hectares. According to Taipei’s Department of Information and Tourism, the festival attracted more than 462,000 people to the festival’s main sites on its first day.

All lantern festival venues are accessible by MRT (key stations: Zhongxiao Fuxing Station, Zhongxiao Dunhua Station, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall Station, Taipei City Hall Station, and Taipei 101 Station), which links the East District and the Xinyi District, integrating local business as well as Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, Taipei 101, and other key urban sites.

Four major lantern zones and lantern display zones ( Beacons of Light, Fountain of Light, Lights of the Future and Central display zones) are spread across 12 Taipei districts have been designated as sites for lantern exhibitions.

During her remarks to open the event on Sunday, President Tsai Ing-wen, describes the festival as one “of Taiwan’s premier international festivals”, and said the country was prepared to welcome tourists from around the world.

The sites will be showcasing rabbits to mark the Year of the Rabbit. There are also lanterns presented by Taiwan’s diplomatic allies, including Saint Kitts and Nevis, Belize and Saint Lucia.

The International Friendship Lantern Area include ten cities and saw the participation of Japanese enterprises.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of China(Taiwan), 14 countries maintain formal diplomatic ties with ROC Taiwan, including Belize, Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), Guatemala, Haiti, the Holy See (the central administration of the Roman Catholic Church), Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Tuvalu.

For more details, visit the official site here.


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