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Alishan sees one-millionth tourist this year

2012/05/14 22:24:39

Taipei, May 14 (CNA) Taiwan's Alishan National Scenic Area welcomed its one-millionth visitor for this year on Monday and is on track to breaking the record of 1.4 million visitors set in 2011.

The one-millionth visitor arrived when newly-weds Lin Yu-hung and Tang Hsiao-chen from northern Taiwan's Taoyuan County visited the mountain as part of their around-the-island trip.

They arrived at the scenic area on Monday morning at 10:57 a.m., according to the Chiayi Forest District Office under the Forestry Bureau.

The couple said they felt "very lucky." They received souvenirs including backpacks and hats, according to the office.

The office said that during this year's cherry blossom month, which kicked off in mid March, some 400,138 visits were made to Alishan, pushing the number of average daily visits to the area during the flower season from 8,400 last year to 12,500.

The number was the highest in the most recent five years during the cherry blossom season, it added.

After Taiwan opened its doors to Chinese tourists in 2008, visits to the area reached over 1 million for the first time in 2009 -- at 1.07 million, it said. The office added that before that, visits to Alishan averaged 900,000 each year.

However, Typhoon Morakot in August 2009 destroyed part of the alpine train system and the main road to Alishan and made the annual visits plunge to 710,000 in 2010, it said.

The office said annual visits to Alishan reached one million in September last year and came at a record number of 1.42 million at the end of the year -- the highest on record, due to relatively stable weather and promotions that were made as part of the Republic of China's centennial celebrations.

(By Huang Kuo-fang and Jamie Wang)