The nation yesterday welcomed the arrival of the 6 millionth international visitor this year at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
The Tourism Bureau said 37-year-old South Korean Kim Heek-yung arrived at 11:40am on a Korean Air flight. She was accompanied by four other family members — her mother, husband, older sister and nephew — for a six-day trip.
Kim said “Yay” after being informed by the immigration officials about the good news, adding that she was happy to be so fortunate.
She was greeted by a lion dance performance, a Taiwanese tradition used to celebrate a special event or to welcome a special guest. The bureau said that this was Kim’s first trip to Taiwan.
Asked if there were any special tourist attractions they were hoping to see, Kim said the only place on their schedule was the National Palace Museum because her sister studied pottery and has been wanting to see the treasures in the museum.
Kim added that she had gathered some travel brochures from the Tourism Bureau’s office in South Korea prior to her arrival in Taiwan and was ready to explore the places mentioned in the materials, such as the popular Din Tai Fung restaurant.
Bureau Deputy Director-General David Hsieh (謝謂君) presented Kim with 600 souvenir gifts worth more than NT$600,000. She was also invited to attend a press conference at the Executive Yuan tomorrow that is being held to celebrate the arrival of the 6 millionth foreign tourist this year.
As the bureau did not know when or where the lucky tourist would arrive, it dispatched officials to the international airports in Taipei, Taoyuan, Greater Taichung, Greater Kaohsiung as well as the harbor in Kinmen to welcome the visitor.
Bureau Director-General Janice Lai (賴瑟珍) said the nation aims to draw 10 million international visitors a year by 2016, adding that it has entrusted the Chunghwa Institution for Economic Research with the task of evaluating the nation’s ability to accommodate more tourists.
“We have estimated that the growth rate for international tourists would be about 9 percent this year,” Lai said. “By 2016, the average growth would be about 11 percent per year.”