While most flights in Taiwan are still grounded because of the Covid-19 outbreak, Taipei Songshan Airport (also called Taipei International Airport) is offering locals a tiny taste of travel, dubbed “pretend to go abroad” airport tours. The first of three scheduled tours took place on July 2, with two more set for July 4 and July 7. In early June, the airport’s social media team asked those who would like to participate in a lottery to win a tour spot to share an airport Facebook post. Some 7,000 users reportedly entered. Among these applications, 180 people — or 60 passengers per flight — were chosen randomly to join the half-day tour, according to CNN.
The passengers got itineraries, boarding passes and proceeded through security and immigration before boarding an Airbus A330 of Taiwan’s largest carrier, China Airlines, where flight attendants chatted to them. In-flight meals weren’t provided but tour-goers dined at one of the airport restaurants. They were also given the freedom to explore parts of the terminal and shop in the duty-free store, Metro wrote.
Taiwan has emerged relatively unscathed from the pandemic thanks to early and effective prevention steps, but has largely closed its borders since mid-March. It has advised citizens against overseas travel unless absolutely necessary. With fewer flights operating, passenger numbers have plummeted 64% in the first five months of 2020 compared with the same period last year, according to the government, according to Reuters.
For many of Taiwan’s citizens, the half-day experiences offer a chance to relive the excitement of departing for a holiday abroad, but for the people who run Songshan Airport, it has been an opportunity to boost the prestige of the country’s third busiest air hub. “People who didn’t have the opportunity to take international flights at Songshan can use this chance to experience and learn more about the boarding process and relevant service facilities,” said Chih-ching Wang, the airport’s deputy director, Telegraph wrote.
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