President Tsai vows to boost tourism in Taiwan

02/09/2017 01:49 PM
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President Tsai Ing-wen (front center) at the Taiwan tourism festival
President Tsai Ing-wen (front center) at the Taiwan tourism festival

Taipei, Feb. 9 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) pledged during a Taiwan tourism festival Thursday that the government will make every effort to boost tourism and laid out three main goals for local tourism promotion.

This year will be an important year for transforming Taiwan's tourism industry and the government will serve as the strongest backup for the industry, Tsai said.

During the ceremony, Tsai laid out the three main goals of local tourism promotion -- developing the unique elements of each county and city, formulating policies that meet the needs of the industry, and exploring every possibility to build a diverse travel environment.

She noted that her administration's "New Southbound Policy," which was implemented in 2016, has been progressing well and has helped attract more tourists from Southeast Asian countries.

Also on Thursday, Tsai said thank-you in nine different languages to foreign visitors who have visited Taiwan over the past year, in a Twitter tweet, as the number of foreign visitors in Taiwan reached a record high in 2016.

In the tweet, she wrote thank-you in English, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Indonesian, Tagalog, Vietnamese and Hindi, in their original characters. Also included in the tweet is a "thank-you" in simplified Chinese characters, which are used by the people of China and ethnic Chinese in Singapore and other places.

Taiwan saw a total of 10.69 million foreign visitor arrivals in 2016, a 2.4 percent year-on-year increase from the previous year, according to government statistics.

Despite a 16.1 percent decrease from 2015, Chinese visitors were still the largest source of foreign visitors to Taiwan in 2016. A total of 3.51 million Chinese nationals visited Taiwan that year, representing 32.9 percent of all foreign visitor arrivals.

A total of 1.9 million visitors from Japan visited Taiwan last year, accounting for 17.7 percent of the total.

This was followed by South Korea, with 880,000 arrivals, representing 8.3 percent of all foreign visitors.

Taiwan also saw an increase of tourists from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines in 2016, since the country began streamlining visa procedures for citizens from those nations in November 2015, said the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Elaine Hou)ENDITEM/J

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