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Published on : Monday, December 21, 2015
Taiwan hits a milestone as it welcomed its 10 millionth international visitor for the year 2015 on Dec. 20 at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. This is quite an achievement for the country’s growing tourism.
Christopher Manuele, a 34-year-old software engineer who touched down with his Taiwan-American wife in tow, was greeted with a lion dance and other festivities as he entered the airport’s arrival hall.
“This is really a big surprise,” Manuele said, adding that he is deeply grateful for such privileged treatment. The California native plans to travel around Taiwan with his wife and visit her grandmother in Kaohsiung City during a two-week stay.
In a promotional ceremony held later the same day in Taipei City, President Ma Ying-jeou presented Manuele with 100 gifts worth NT$1 million (US$30,196). These comprised artworks, bicycles, consumer electronics and luxurious vacation packages, as well as an assortment souvenirs provided by local governments.
According to Ma, the first-time arrival of a 10 millionth visitor for the year sends a strong message that Taiwan is on course to becoming a major global vacation destination.
“The nation’s tourism industry has achieved significant growth since I took office in May 2008,” he said. “We expect the number of foreign visitors to hit 10.3 million by the end of 2015, reflecting an increase of 168 percent increase for the period.”
Despite challenging economic conditions at home and abroad, the local tourism industry continues to chalk up impressive results with a gain of 23.6 percent in tourist arrivals last year, Ma added.
“This placed Taiwan second only to Japan among 50 major destinations in the 2015 Tourism Highlights released by U.N. World Tourism Organization.”
The president said public- and private-sector efforts are also paying handsome dividends in the form of enhanced coverage of Taiwan tourism by international media outlets such as Business Insider U.K., CNN and Lonely Planet.
“We will continue enhancing industry service standards and attracting additional cross-sector investment as tourism represents a real opportunity to take Taiwan’s economy to new heights.”