Tourism booming, Wu says
Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said yesterday that the government would open tourism to independent Chinese visitors before July 1. Wu told a gathering of business leaders that more international tourists were visiting Taiwan. The number of foreign visitors has jumped from more than 3 million in 2008 to 5.56 million last year, and is expected to reach 6.5 million this year. Wu also boasted an increase in visitors from South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan during the first quarter of this year. Wu said passenger and cargo traffic at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport has grown tremendously in the past three years. Traffic volume at the airport used to be the lowest of the “Four Asian Tigers,” but it now boasts the highest figure among the four, he said.
University’s donation arrives
The first NT$10 million (US$344,800) pledged by high-profile Chinese philanthropist Chen Guangbiao (陳光標) to a local university has arrived, the school announced yesterday. Shih Hsin University president Lai Ting-ming (賴鼎銘) said that during Chen’s visit to Taiwan early this year, he promised to donate NT$20 million to help impoverished students, after being briefed by Lai on the difficulties such students face and the school’s ideals. Chen pledged NT$20 million in funding, the second NT$10 million of which will be given next year. “We hope to use the donation to help poor students so they don’t have to take part-time jobs to support themselves and can focus instead on their studies,” Lai said. He also said that as far as he knew, Shih Hsin was the only school in Taiwan to have received a donation from Chen. The tycoon made a name for himself locally when he publicly handed out red envelopes to those who approached him.
Chi Chiao-tou celebrated
The annual Northern Bluefin Tuna Cultural and Sightseeing Festival hosted by the Pingtung County Government will include Chi Chiao-tou (7角頭) folk culture for the first time. The festival opened on May 4 and runs through July 3. The county government has designed a series of “wish cards” that highlight the cultural heritage of Chi Chiao-tou, which is the collective name of the seven neighborhoods in Donggang (東港), a township in the county that is famous for its bluefin tuna. Each neighborhood has its own temple and a group of folk art performers, who will participate in a triennial religious event called the “Prince Welcoming Ritual” at Donglong Temple next year. The county government has created a total of 110,000 wish cards in seven different colors, representing the uniforms that each performing group will wear during the ritual next year. The cards have been placed in the seven temples to boost tourism and promote folk culture.