Wed, Aug 29, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Tourism to help economy: premier

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

As part of the government’s strategy to boost the economy, Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) yesterday set a goal of attracting an additional 3 million foreign tourists within four years, particularly focusing on high-spending visitors, and developing the exhibition and convention industry.

Since 2008, when Taiwan received about 3.84 million tourists, the number of tourists visiting the nation has grown at a rate of 1 million per year, Chen said.

“If the growth rate continues, more than 10 million tourists will visit Taiwan in 2016, up from an achievable goal of 7 million this year,” Chen told a press conference after a closed-door meeting with business leaders and government officials to discuss ways of boosting the economy — the fourth in a series of five symposiums.

According to the government, statistics from the World Tourism Organization show a significant increase in the number of foreign tourists visiting Taiwan, an average growth rate of 16.77 percent between 2009 and last year.

Setting a goal of more than 10 million foreign tourists visiting in 2016, the government expects to generate business opportunities worth more than NT$470 billion (US$15.68 billion) and to create 200,000 jobs by attracting investment from 20 international hotel groups and NT$300 billion in local investment in the next four years.

Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said the government was looking at the newly rich middle classes in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, India, Malaysia, Brunei and Muslim countries as potential sources of tourists.

Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) said the government would provide the necessary assistance to help the private sector establish a strong exhibition and convention industry with a view to building Taiwan into the top trade-show destination in Asia.

By 2016, the government hopes that Taiwan can host at least two large-scale trade shows, 215 international conventions and 25 business meetings annually to bring the number of international tourists visiting for business purposes from 152,000 a year to 235,000 a year, while boosting the output of the exhibition and convention industry to more than NT$ 40.4 billion from NT$30 million, he said.

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