Sat, Jan 03, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Fireworks bring nation publicity

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The New Year’s Eve fireworks display at Taipei 101 — the highest completed skyscraper in the world — increased the nation’s international profile as it received coverage from major news outlets around the world, a Tourism Bureau official said yesterday.

“It is very good for the image of Taiwan that it was broadcast to the international community,” said Liu Si-lin (劉喜臨), head of the Tourism Bureau’s international affairs section. “It certainly achieved the goal of promoting Taiwan’s tourism business.”

Saying that in previous years, the right to organize the show was sold to international companies, such as Sony, for advertising purposes, Liu added that the Tourism Bureau decided two years ago to organize the show to promote Taiwan and had staged successful displays for New Year’s Eve for the last two years.

Last year, 75 television networks in 26 countries broadcast footage of the New Year’s Eve fireworks display at Taipei 101, publicity that the Tourism Bureau estimated was worth more than NT$100 million (US$3.03 million), Liu said.

He said international media, such as CNN and the BBC, covered this year’s show on New Year’s Eve, but added that the total amount of publicity it received would not be known until the Government Information Office’s overseas offices had gathered all the relevant information.

Liu said the Tourism Bureau would continue to develop every possible channel to promote tourism to the nation and increase Taiwan’s profile and also welcomed advice from the public on how to build the nation into the best tourism destination in Asia.

The Tourism Bureau, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Chung-hwa Telecom Co Ltd won the bid for the right to stage the NT$21 million show this year, in which the year “2009” and the English word “Taiwan” were embedded in huge hearts that lit up the facade of Taipei 101 during the New Year’s Eve fireworks display, which was sponsored by Taipei 101.

Every New Year at the stroke of midnight, the fireworks show brings the countdown to a dazzling crescendo and is watched by tens of thousands of revelers.

However, Taipei 101 officials said that this year’s fireworks display would be the last, as the building now has 100 percent occupancy, making future displays on such a scale impossible to organize.

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