Foreign tourists made more than 8 million visits last year, up from 3.84 million visits in 2008, according to figures from the Tourism Bureau.
A record 2.85 million Chinese visited last year, up 10 percent from 2012, four years after a decades-old ban on Chinese tourists was lifted.
Despite the rosy picture painted by the authorities, opponents have cast a shadow over the project, which requires the compulsory purchase of more than 3,000 hectares of land for infrastructure and other urban design purposes.
“We doubt the local government has the ability to execute the biggest-ever zone expropriation plan in Taiwan,” Hsu Po-jen (許博任)of the Taiwan Rural Front said, as many of the residents to be affected have pledged to stop the plan.
About 8,000 households or 30,000 people would be displaced, he said.
However, officials say they are handling the problem and that the bold aviation plan will go ahead.
“We’ve increased staff to handle the thorny zone expropriation issues and stepped up communication with the opponents,” said Huang Sui-peng from the county government. “We believe the [opposition] noise can be reduced and we’re optimistic about the progress of the project.”