Sun, Sep 03, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

Staff writer, with CNA

TOURISM

Huge rise in Visayas tourists

The Philippines saw a surge in Taiwanese tourists to the central Visayas in the first four months of this year, the largest tourist growth from any country in the region. Data from the Philippine Department of Tourism released earlier this week showed a 110.75 percent year-on-year increase in the number of Taiwanese tourists traveling to the central Visayas in the first four months of the year. In total, 21,631 Taiwanese visited the region, whereas only 10,264 visited in the same period last year. To explain the increase, travel agencies said that tourists are trying to avoid traffic jams in Manila. The government has been promoting its New Southbound Policy, encouraging Taiwanese to visit Southeast Asia and promoting Taiwan as a travel destination. The department’s rankings showed that Taiwan was the sixth-largest source of visitors to the Philippines for the first half of this year, behind South Korea, Japan, China, the US and Australia.

HEALTHCARE

International staff honored

Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) honored Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital yesterday for its contributions to healthcare among the nation’s allies. At a celebration marking the hospital’s 25th anniversary, Chen presented an Outstanding Organization Award to the hospital’s international medical team for “their work that has allowed the world to see Taiwan’s heart.” In particular, he acknowledged the work the staff has done in Palau, with which Taiwan has diplomatic ties. Palauans have come to describe the hospital’s medical team as “saviors from thousands of miles away,” Chen said. Also in attendance at the celebration was Shin Kong Group chairman Eugene Wu (吳東進), hospital president Hou Sheng-mao (侯勝茂) and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲).

FOREIGN AID

Taiwan donates to Texas

The government has donated US$800,000 to relief efforts in Texas after Hurricane Harvey caused widespread flooding in the state last week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The government “has decided to donate US$800,000 to local [US] governments and community disaster relief efforts,” the ministry said in a news release yesterday. According to a report by the Washington Post, Taiwan is one of the few foreign countries to have pledged to donate toward relief efforts. In 2005, the government donated US$2 million toward relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans; Taiwan’s Red Cross Society donated NT$3.7 million (US$122,695) and the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation also raised funds and sent supplies. Tzu Chi’s US branch also helped after Hurricane Katrina, aiding 20,000 households in need and donating more than US$4.7 million.

TOURISM

Alishan railway adds stop

The Alishan Forest Railway is adding a stop to one of its tourist-oriented train tours, the Taiwan Railways Administration announced yesterday. The administration said that the Shuishan branch line would become part of the “Alishan Train Pongbi” cruise-style tour starting next month, taking passengers along a previously inaccessible route. Pongbi means to travel along a zigzag path. The track goes through a large forest, at the end of which is a 19.6m-long wooden bridge and the renowned Shuishan Giant Tree. The “Alishan Train Pongbi” package is NT$880 for a round-trip ticket, which includes a tour guide and lunch.

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