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Lunch with Keelung Mayor Lin Yu-chang

On 13 January 2017 a delegation of ECCT members and guests led by ECCT Chairman Hakan Cervell and CEO Freddie Hoeglund visited Keelung where they enjoyed a working lunch meeting with Keelung Mayor Lin Yu-chang and senior government officials. After lunch, they enjoyed a short afternoon cruise around Keelung harbour. The visit was part of the ECCT's outreach programme as a nation-wide association to establish relations and seek areas of mutual cooperation with municipal governments all across Taiwan.

Besides the mayor, the following Keelung City Government officials attended the lunch: Dr Lin Yong-fa, Deputy Mayor; Lee Tung-cheng, Secretary-General; Dr Lin Ching-hai, Director-General, Department of Economic Affairs; Dr Hsu Yen-hsing, Director-General, Department of Urban Development; Dr Lee Gang, Director-General, Department of Transportation and Tourism; Huang Jun-yi, Director-General, Evaluation Commission; Tien Chin Lee, Deputy Director-General, Cultural Affairs Bureau; Chang King-hua, Director-General, Industrial Development and Investment Promotion Committee and Chou Pei-Hong, Confidential Secretary to the Mayor.

In his opening remarks ECCT Chairman Håkan Cervell referred to Keelung's interesting history, which includes involvement by European settlers from both Spain and The Netherlands. He also noted the great business potential for Keelung if the city takes advantage of its access to the ocean and northern coast to boost industries such as leisure boating, eco-tourism, fishing, yacht building, maintenance and docking facilities and marina tourism.

In his remarks Mayor Lin thanked the ECCT for its important role in helping Keelung City. In recent editions of the position papers published by the ECCT's Travel & Tourism committee, recommendations had been made to build a terminal for cruise ships in Keelung, improve transport infrastructure linking Keelung to Taipei and other major tourist attractions and to introduce a 72-hour visa waiver for cruise passengers. Mayor Lin said that he had used the ECCT's position papers in his own presentations to central government agencies to strengthen his own requests for support for Keelung city. Thanks to the ECCT's position papers, the city had succeeded in securing central government support on all of the issues. In particular, roads have already been upgraded to improve traffic flow and major infrastructure plans for Keelung harbour have been approved, including plans to construct a new terminal for cruise ships.

The upgrades to Keelung harbour promise substantial benefits for the city's people and economy as well as great business opportunities. The mayor said that he hoped that this would result in further collaboration between the city government and the ECCT in future.

After the mayor's speech, Dr Hsu Yen-hsing, Director-General of the Urban Development Department, gave a presentation in which he introduced Keelung and outlined some of the city's future development plans.

Besides Keelung's main container and shipping facilities (which are the second largest in Taiwan, after Kaohsiung) and docking area for cruise ships, there are several smaller harbours, mainly used for fishing and marinas for yachts. In recent years Keelung has seen steady growth of around 8-9% per year in the number of cruise passengers. Keelung is also an attraction for local tourists (around 12 million tourists visit the city every year). Every summer the city also arranges an ocean carnival.

As part of the development of the harbour, the current naval operations will be relocated to make way for the construction of the cruise terminal. There are also plans to build an exhibition and convention centre and retail and other commercial buildings. The city has also secured support from the Ministry of Culture to restore and renovate historical buildings and sites around the harbour. The city also plans to introduce dedicated sightseeing buses to take tourists to major attractions around Keelung.

After lunch, guests were taken on a short bus ride to Bisha Village, where they toured the seafood market and were given a demonstration on how to prepare squid for drying and cooking. They were then taken on a cruise around the inner harbour on a luxury yacht. After the cruise they returned to Bisha and were treated to samples of fresh locally-caught seafood, including tiger prawns and squid, accompanied by miso soup.