Dadan Island to open for tourism in March

Taipei, Nov. 15 (CNA)-One of the smaller islands in the outlying Kinmen County that was a front-line battleground against China’s communist regime during the Cold War era will officially open as a tourist destination in March 2019 after a trial run earlier this year.

The decision to open the 0.79-square-kilometer Dadan Island was made at a recent meeting at which military and county government agencies reviewed the results of the trial opening of the island to tourism from July 26 to Oct. 31.

During the 98-day period, Dadan Island was opened to visitors for 59 days and drew 3,061 people and NT$4.9 million (US$160,000) in revenue, results judged to be quite good by people at the meeting, according to Kinmen County’s Department of Tourism.

Tourism Department Director-General Chen Mei-ling (陳美齡) said tourism operators in Kinmen, and particularly in Lieyu Township, which administers Dadan Island, are hopeful that the opening of Dadan Island will boost tourist arrivals.

She pledged that measures will be adopted to improve the island’s tourism environment, which lies less than five kilometers away from the Chinese coastal city of Xiamen.

Once Dadan Island is opened to tourists, 300 visitors will be allowed to visit per day, up from 100 people during the trial run, but Chinese visitors will not be permitted in the initial stages, the department said.

From November 2018 to February 2019, military retirees, schools and public agencies can apply to visit the island, and their applications will be handled on a case-by-case basis, according to the department.

Dadan Island is best known as a Cold War era military outpost located on the front lines of the Republic of China’s efforts to keep the communists at bay.

It was heavily bombed by China during the Aug. 23 Artillery Battle of 1958, with more than 100,000 shells fired from the other side of the Taiwan Strait hitting the island.