2019 Lantern Festival to highlight southern Taiwan vibe

Taipei, The 2019 Taiwan Lantern Festival, which will take place from Feb. 19 to March 3 in Pingtung, will feature the atmosphere of Taiwan's southernmost county, including its fishery products, cuisine and landscape.

While this year's festival celebrates the Year of the Pig in the Chinese zodiac, it will be the first time the main lantern will not be based on a Chinese zodiac animal, according to the Tourism Bureau.

Instead, the lantern will be in the shape of a giant golden tuna jumping out of the sea, symbolizing the bluefin tuna that brings wealth to the county.

Also, it will be the first time for the main show to be held inside a national scenic area -- the coastal parts of the popular sailing spot Dapeng Bay, the bureau said.

It added that it wants to utilize Pingtung's unique landscape to offer more diversified travel packages, and because the main lantern will be placed above Dapeng Bay, visitors can view the lantern on a night cruise.

The organizers said it plans to leave the main lantern standing long after the festival is over, so that it can serve as a new landmark for Dapeng Bay.

The festival will also tout the three most well-known local specialties -- tuna, dried Sergestidae shrimp and oilfish -- by offering snacks that feature the three ingredients.

On the entertainment side, the festival will host more than 100 shows, to be performed by both local and international artists, the bureau said.

Among the highlights would be shows from French art group "ilotopie" and Intel drone light show as they both beautifully present the landscape of the county, it said.

There will also be performers from Japan, South Korea, Spain, France and Indonesia, the bureau added.

As an incentive to attract foreign visitors, all tourists who purchase a full-package product that includes a Lantern Festival event in Taiwan, from an overseas travel agent, will be given a small 2019 Year of the Pig hand held DIY lantern.

Now in its 30th year, the festival attracts up to 10 million local and foreign tourists each time, said Tourism Bureau Director-General Chou Yung-hui He expects the visitor volume to stay around that level this year.

"We believe that the festival will also help the hospitality industry in southern Taiwan as we see a surge of visitors to the area during that period," Chou said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel