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Taiwan airport offers 'pretend to go abroad' airport tours amid Covid-19 pandemic

CNN logo CNN 6/12/2020 By Ben Westcott, CNN
a sign on the side of a building: A view of Taipei's Songshan International Airport logo in January. © SOPA Images/LightRocket/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett A view of Taipei's Songshan International Airport logo in January.

With planes grounded and most tourism on hold during the coronavirus pandemic, one Taiwanese airport has come up with a unique solution to help citizens get their travel fix.

Taipei's Songshan airport will give 90 people the chance to take a tour of their airport and relive the experience of going through immigration, boarding a plane and then disembarking and returning home.

"Can't leave (Taiwan), then pretend to go abroad at Songshan," a flier posted to the airport's website read.

Songshan is the smaller of Taipei's two international airports and is located in the center of the city beside the Keelung River.

International tourism has been effectively stopped in most of the world as countries shut their borders to try and avoid outbreaks of the novel coronavirus, which has already infected more than 7 million people globally.

Some countries are already looking into innovative ways to boost their travel industries. In one example, Australia and New Zealand are working to organize a "travel bubble" between the two countries.

Taiwan locked down its borders in March amid the growing coronavirus pandemic, and foreign nationals are still banned from visiting the island.

According to the flier for the competition, there will be three tours of Songshan Airport on July 2, 4 and 7.

Chih-ching Wang, deputy director of Taipei Songshan Airport, said the tours will take half a day and will allow visitors to experience what it would be like to go through immigration and then board the plane, followed by re-entering the country through immigration.

"People who didn't have the opportunity to take international flights at Songshan (can) use this chance to experience and learn more about boarding process and relevant service facilities," said Wang.

Wang said that participants will be allowed to get on a plane as if they were boarding for a trip, after which they will disembark and go back through immigration.

Tour goers will also be the "first to experience the new facilities at the airport," the fliers said, adding that visitors can "complete missions" and take home "exclusive mysterious gifts."

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