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Kaohsiung tourism industry taking beating after 'toxic air' rumors
Central News Agency
2014-08-12 08:54 PM
Taipei, Aug. 12 (CNA) Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu lamented the drop in tourism to her city after anonymous Web users began spreading word that "Kaohsiung's air is toxic " in the wake of the July 31 deadly explosions. "Kaohsiung has been really unfortunate recently," she sighed, referring to the Internet rumors as well as the disaster that killed 30 and injured more than 300 last month and the downpour that has in recent days inundated streets ripped open by the blasts. Her comments came after the city's tourism chief Hsu Chuan-sheng dismissed the toxic air scare as speculation, explaining that propylene that burned in those explosions left only carbon dioxide and water and there was no cause for alarm. He called on Internet users not to spread misinformation and said he has asked police to identify the person behind the original post warning of "toxic air." But that and the propylene-fueled explosions have already been enough to cause tourism to the city to drop sharply. Local hotel occupancy rates have dropped more than 30 percent, according to Hsu. For the mayor, the damage to the city's reputation is just the latest in a string of challenges. She called on her administrative team to be patient and keep working hard to get through the current flooding before reconstruction can begin. She vowed that she would ensure safety and build a city that is pleasant to live in. "Only with the facts (of rebuilding) can we prove Kaohsiung has not been beaten," she said. (By Wang Shwu-fen and Lilian Wu)
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