Pointing to the growth in the number of tourists visiting Taiwan over the past three years, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday that it is possible that the total number of tourists visiting the nation will exceed 10 million in 2016.
Speaking at National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism before meeting with students, Ma said that in the past the growth in the number of tourists visiting Taiwan was only an additional 1 million per decade, but in the past three years tourism growth has exceeded a million every year.
He said 3.7 million tourists visited Taiwan in 2007, rising to 3.8 million in 2008. However, in 2010 4.3 million tourists visited Taiwan and 6 million arrived last year.
It is possible that the nation could see a total of 7 million by the end of this year, Ma said.
The speed of growth is unprecedented and it is evidence that Taiwan is a potential tourist hot spot, Ma said.
He also said that of the 6 million tourists that visited last year, Chinese tourists made up only 1 million, while the rest comprised of tourists from Southeast Asian countries or Japan, adding that there were also a staggering 800,000 tourists from Hong Kong and Macau.
Taiwan’s appeal is not only its rich gastronomic culture and its beautiful scenery, but also its strong morals, Ma said, pointing to the example of how a Japanese visitor had received back his wallet after losing it in Taiwan six months previously, or the recent incident in which renowned Taiwanese writer Wu Nien-jen (吳念真) had his mobile phone returned to him before he had left the station after he left it on a high-speed train.
A student from Malaysia also spoke during the meeting with Ma, saying that the Taiwanese attitude toward foreigners was one of the nation’s greatest attributes.
Tourism is not all about quantity, but also quality, and we need to set high standards for Taiwanese tourism, Ma said.