Dengue fever takes toll on Taiwan tourism

Taipei, Sep 12 (IANS) More than 80 percent of tourists planning to travel to Taiwan’s Tainan have cancelled their trips over fears of a dengue fever epidemic in the city, the local sightseeing association said.

Taiwan has reported a record 8,677 dengue fever cases since May. On Friday, 617 new cases were reported, breaking the record for highest daily increase in cases, Xinhua quoted the island’s health authorities as saying on Saturday.

A total of 7,660 cases have been recorded in Tainan since May, accounting for nearly 90 percent of dengue fever cases across the island, according to the latest estimates.

Dengue-related deaths have risen to 44 out of which 18 were confirmed to be caused by the disease, while the remaining 26 cases are still under investigation.

Tainan is a popular destination for camping and outdoor education. Six schools with more than 2,000 students and teachers from Yunlin county have cancelled their camping trips to Tainan.

Schools in Taichung city and Changhua county have also called to cancel or postpone activities scheduled in October.

The city’s Tsou-Ma-Lai Farm, a popular recreational agriculture site, has received nearly 5,000 cancellations or postponement requests so far.

Even the city’s primary and middle schools have chosen to move outdoor activities inside or to other cities from September to November due to pressure from parents, dealing another huge blow to the city’s tourism industry.

The city government and related departments convened a meeting on Friday to come up with ways to save the tourism industry. But no concrete measures have been announced so far.

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