Wed, Oct 31, 2012 - Page 4 News List

LA rolls out red carpet for Taiwanese visitors

Staff writer, with CNA, LOS ANGELES

Los Angeles is making a special effort to welcome the first batch of Taiwanese to visit the US under its Visa-Waiver Program (VWP), a tourism official in Los Angeles said on Monday.

“We’re working together to roll out the red carpet for the first Taiwanese visa-waiver passengers coming in [on] Nov. 1,” said Patti MacJennett, deputy director of the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board.

“We understand in Los Angeles how important that will be for us,” MacJennett added.

She said tourism is one of the leading industries in the city, providing one in 10 jobs and contributing US$15.2 billion annually to the city’s economy. International travelers are important because they make up about 20 percent of the total number of visitors to Los Angeles and account for more than one-third of the total spending by tourists in the city, she said.

Taiwan is among the top 10 international markets for tourism, she added, citing data that showed that about 89,000 Taiwanese traveled to Los Angeles last year. This year, the number is expected to rise to approximately 100,000.

With Taiwan’s admission into the VWP, the number of visitors from Taiwan to the US is expected to increase by about 25 percent per year. Statistics show that about 30 percent of Taiwanese tourists visit Los Angeles to see family members, 35 percent for business purposes and about 28 percent for sightseeing, she said.

The city’s tourism board is working with Universal Studios and the management of other tourist attractions to draw more Taiwanese visitors, she said.

The city’s tourism board is working with Universal Studios and the management of other tourist attractions to draw more Taiwanese visitors, she said.

Taiwan’s admission to the VWP was approved on Oct. 2 and takes effect tomorrow.

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