Taiwan Lantern Festival a hit with international visitors

Up to 15 million international visitors are expected to flock to Taiwan for the 2024 Taiwan Lantern Festival, which kicked off on 24 Feb in Tianan, DAMIAN FRANCIS reports.

THE Lantern Festival, which runs until 10 Mar, began in 1990 and will feature over 70 performances, more than 300 lanterns and over 300 artworks contributed by more than 16 cities from around the world. 

Launching the festival on Sat, Taiwan Transportation and Communications Ministry Director General Dr Chou Yung-hui told media “we estimate we will see 10-15 million tourists coming to Taiwan, but we are still calculating”. 

He added that 22,000 tourists had already descended on the festival.  

This year’s main lantern, ‘Dragon Comes to Taiwan’, is designed and produced by renowned artist Peng Li-chen and inspired by the dragon sculptures in front of the Daitian Temple in Tainan. The lantern reaches 22 metres in height and was the centrepiece for the opening ceremony.

This year the festival features two major exhibition areas, the ‘High-Speed Rail Lantern Area’ featuring seven large exhibition zones around the high-speed rail station, and ‘Anping Lantern Area’ located in Lin Mo Niang Park, Anping Recreational Wharf, and along the Anping Canal. 

Taiwan is currently embarking on a big push to drive additional visitors. According to Dr Chou, the country has embraced eco-tourism, tribal tourism and business travel, among other areas it is focusing on. He pointed to New Zealand as a source of inspiration for one of its strategies.  

“Taiwan is an area of a lot of indigenous groups,” he said. “We are developing areas to promote tribal tourism in correspondence to tribal trends – New Zealand does this with the Maoris very well and it’s something the world is focusing on.” 

He added that Taiwan’s strategies for tourism growth align with global trends, and that it was particularly concentrated on sustainability.  

International visitors will receive a complimentary 2024 Year of the Dragon lantern, a limited-edition souvenir, and an event ticket when they present their passports at the festival’s on-site redemption centre.

Travel Daily was in Taiwan as a guest of Tourism Taiwan.  

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