Chen promotes `tourism island'

A NEW BEGINNING: The president said that Taiwan was entering a new era of leisure time and tourist development

CNA , TAIPEI

Wed, Jan 10, 2001 - Page 2

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said he envisions Taiwan will be transformed into a "tourism island," during a stop in a lush and scenic area of Taitung yesterday.

Chen instructed tourism officials to map out a new strategy for such a plan, convene a national seminar and develop national scenic areas.

The president, accompanied by Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭), minister of Transportation and Communications, arrived at Fengnian Airport in Taitung yesterday.

Chen first met with Chang Yu-hern (張有恆), director-general of the Civil Aeronautics Administration, who briefed him on the operation of Taitung Airport and its expansion works.

The NT$88.21 million expansion project is scheduled to begin this July, Chang said. After its completion in December 2002, the airport is expected to meet the needs of passenger growth over the next five years.

The expansion will also add an estimated annual revenue of around NT$13 million to the area's tourism industry.

After leaving the airport, the president next went on to visit the organization committee of the National Taiwan Prehistoric Cultural Museum in Taitung. He also toured the museum's exhibition halls, gardens, water dance facilities and outdoor performance theater.

The president then traveled to Luye Highland, in Luye village, Taitung County, to visit a scenic tower and a jumping tower for parachute enthusiasts.

Chen said that now that civil servants have started a new five-day workweek, the nation has passed into a new era.

The government must create a superb tourism environment and an easily accessible transportation network so that the people can enjoy a higher quality of life through better use of their expanded leisure time, the president said.

He has therefore asked the Tourism Bureau to devise a new strategy for developing Taiwan's tourism industry, make careful plans for national scenic areas, help local governments upgrade selected scenic spots, develop ecological tourism, and promote folk festivities so they become attractions for local and overseas tourists.

The president also spoke of the possibility of combining leisure farms and exciting outdoor activities such as parachuting. Taitung has long been a favorite tourist destination, he said, as he toured the picturesque croplands and tea farms in Lungtien Village.