Fri, Sep 07, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Ma promises to develop tourism industry if elected

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday that if he is elected president next year, he will set up a NT$30 billion (US$905.3 million) fund to help Taiwan develop its tourism industry.

Ma disclosed his plan during discussions with residents of Pingtung County's Little Ryukyu (小琉球), a coral reef island located 15km southwest of Pingtung County's Donggang Harbor.

Little Ryukyu covers an area of 6.8km2. Most of the island's 15,000 residents rely on fishing and aquaculture to make a living.

Local community leaders have also expressed a strong desire to develop a casino resort on the island.

The area has been included in the Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area since 1990, but the local township government hopes to turn the waters around the island into Taiwan's first coral ecological park.

Ma said if elected president, he will use part of the NT$30 billion fund to help Little Ryukyu conserve its undersea ecology. He also promised to develop its tourism industry, and create more jobs for local residents, especially women.

Ma also said he will increase the government's fuel subsidies for fishing boats by 14 percent.

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