Comic festival attracts fewer visitors amid coronavirus scare

The annual Taipei International Comics and Animation Festival closed Tuesday after attracting slightly fewer visitors than last year as Taiwan works to combat the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) acute respiratory disease.

The five-day show, held at the Taipei World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition Hall, attracted around 401,000 visitors, compared with 410,000 in 2019, Chinese Animation and Comic Publishers Association (CCPA) secretary-general Roger Kao (???) told CNA.

The show, now in its eighth edition, generated about NT$170 million (US$5.6 million) in revenue this year, less than NT$180 million the previous year, Kao said.

Known for its long queues and large crowds, organizers emphasized disease prevention this year as Taiwan has already confirmed 11 cases of infection with 2019-nCov, which originated in China two months ago.

Unlike the 2020 Taipei International Book Exhibition, which was postponed until May, the comic and animation festival went ahead but required all visitors to have their temperature checked and confirmed as under 37.5 degrees Celsius and asked them to disinfect their hands before being granted entry.

"Actually, revenue and attendance numbers were not our main focus this year, we really wanted to do the best we could in disease prevention," he said. "You can see over the weekend many parents brought their children with them to the show, because they saw that we had a strict disease prevention mechanism."

Despite the spread of the coronavirus, which was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization on the day the show opened Friday, Taiwanese are still very passionate about comics and animation, said Singaporean cosplayer Rithe, who was invited by one of the exhibitors to show.

"The passion is different, it is such a big part of their lives. You see people in Singapore running for certain booths just for the sake of getting it first," she said. "Here they really treat the characters like their wives or something."

The 2020 Taipei International Comics and Animation Festival featured about 500 stall spaces featuring 65 exhibitors.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel