In order to bring a greater number of cruise lines to visit Taiwan for a greater variety of itineraries, the Maritime Port Bureau (MPB) of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) arranged on January 10 to 13th of this year (2018) for in-depth tour guides from the UK's Noble Caledonia cruise line to investigate Kinmen's Shuitou Port, Penghu's Magong Port, and Taitung's Fugang Fishing Port. While there, the tour guides assessed the facilities and tour possibilities in each of these ports. They also made visits to Kaohsiung's Tourism Bureau and the Taiwan International Ports Corporation. It is hoped that, by establishing visits by international cruise liners to non-international ports, and by welcoming the refined travel brought in by such cruise liners, foreign cruise travelers will have opportunities to gain deeper insights into more aspects of Taiwan.
The UK's Noble Caledonia cruise line is set to bring approximately 100 UK tourists to Taiwan, March 16-23, via combination Fly-Cruise travel. The tourists will arrive via Taoyuan International Airport, then later board a cruise liner in the Port of Keelung. Later, they will make stops at the Port of Taichung, Kinmen's Shuitou Port, Penghu's Magong Port, Tainan's Anping Port, Taitung's Fugang Fishing Port, and at the Port of Hualien. This is the first time that an international cruise line has used this method of travel to hop between the island of Taiwan and the outlying islands. The MPB notes that there are a variety of locations attractive to tourists located throughout Taiwan, but due to limited transportation, tourists coming from abroad, and especially those from Europe and the US, primarily just see Taipei and the other major metropolitan areas. If technical problems related to berthing for cruise liners are resolved, this helps international cruise lines to develop new styles of island-hopping excursions to Taiwan. This will certainly create a win-win situation for the tourism industry of Taiwan and for international cruise lines.
Taiwan has made a great showing on the international cruise line market in recent years. Last year, the Port of Keelung became Asia's second-largest cruise liner home port. In addition to providing the people of Taiwan with more travel options, international cruise liners also bring more international tourists. At present, international cruise line passengers come to Taiwan primarily through the international ports of Keelung, Taichung, Kaohsiung and Hualien. However, in recent years, the modes and trends for cruise line travel have become more diverse. In addition to the large cruise liners that carry 3000-4000 passengers, there are also exquisite smaller vessels carrying only 100 or so passengers. In order to satisfy a variety of cruise line route options and berthing needs, the MPB arranged on-site visits by cruise line staff to inspect the relevant ports and hear the cruise line's needs. By establishing an "international cruise liners berthing at non-international ports" mode, this provides cruise line companies with a greater variety of route options, while also bringing greater tourism benefits to areas around Taiwan.