Please come to Hualien, local hoteliers urge

Taipei, Despite public concern over travel safety in Hualien following the Feb. 6 earthquake, local hotel and hot spring owners on Tuesday urged tourists to come to the region.

The business owners pointed out that most of the county remains unaffected and said it is safe to visit.

Pan Yue-shia (???), owner of the Moon Water Resort in Yuli Township, told CNA that many of her bookings have been canceled since the quake hit downtown Hualien City.

"But conditions in the rest of the county are OK and not as bad as the media have reported," she said.

"The damaged area is limited to the area around the Milun Fault (in central Hualien City), while Antong and Ruisui hot spring resorts,, which are about 100 kilometers from the disaster area, remain intact," she said.

"Hualien is still fine and beautiful. I wish all good friends can come, which is the greatest support that you can extend to us," she said, urging members of the public to keep a positive view of Hualien.

Liang Ai-ti (???), chairman of the Hualien County Tourism Hotels Association, estimated post-quake losses to the hotel sector at about NT$8 billion (US$271 million) from February to June, normally the peak season for local tourism sector.

Hot Spring Tourism Association Taiwan President Lee Chi-tien (???), meanwhile, also urged people to visit Hualien, saying that doing so will help the public get rid of their fear of earthquakes in Hualien, something that will substantially help the county get back on its feet.

In addition, Akihiro Nishino, a Japanese comedian and writer and illustrator, wrote a Facebook post asking the public go visit Hualien, as well as eat and buy Hualien produce, as a means of transmitting the real image of Hualien to the rest of the world.

Source: Focus Taiwan