CNA file photo
Taipei, Dec. 11 (CNA) Taiwan was expected to welcome on Sunday its 10 millionth foreign visitor for 2016, hitting that mark for the second consecutive year, according to the Tourism Bureau.
As of Dec 10, foreign visitor arrivals to Taiwan stood at 9.97 million and were expected to reach the 10-million mark sometime after 9 p.m. Sunday, the Tourism Bureau said.
In anticipation of the milestone, the bureau said, it has prepared to hold a welcome ceremony at any one the country's international airports.
Last year, the 10th millionth foreign visitor, a 34-year-old Italian-American computer engineer named Manuele Christopher, arrived with his wife on Dec. 20 at Taoyuan Airport on a China Airlines flight from Los Angeles.
He was greeted with a lion dance and other festivities and was later given 100 gifts valued at a total NT$1 million.
This year, the 10 millionth visitor milestone is an indication that the drop in tourist numbers from mainland China has been offset by an increase in arrivals from other countries, airport sources said.
Taiwan is expected a record an annual decrease of about 800,000 in the number of mainland Chinese visitor arrivals this year, from 4.18 million in 2015, as the numbers have been dropping since the pro-independence Democratic Progress Party took office on May 20.
In 2015, Taiwan's foreign visitor arrivals totaled 10.44 million, up from 9.91 million a year earlier, according to government data.
(By Bien Chen-feng and Frances Huang)