Bureau forecasts growth
Foreign tourist arrivals could increase from last year’s record 7.3 million to 7.7 million this year, with China and Southeast Asian countries the main sources of growth, the Tourism Bureau said. Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said the bureau would step up efforts to lure wealthy travelers from China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam because they are showing increasing buying power. Last year there were record high numbers of tourists from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia and Singapore, which suggests an increasing potential in the regional market, the bureau said. The number of travelers from Hong Kong and Macau broke the 1 million mark last year to reach 1.01 million, up 24.3 percent year-on-year, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said. The tourism sector generated NT$340 billion (US$11 billion) in foreign exchange last year, bureau statistics show.
Burghardt arrives for visit
American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman Raymond Burghardt arrived in Taipei last night for a five-day visit, the institute said. Burghardt was scheduled to meet with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and several major figures in politics and business, it said in a statement. It is Burghardt’s 14th trip to Taiwan since he took up the top AIT post in February 2006, the statement said. Burghardt was the director of AIT’s Taipei office from 1999 to 2001. He is also the director of East-West Seminars at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Ministry offers flood advice
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an advisory yesterday that the southeastern areas of the Australian state of Queensland are suffering from flooding and warned travelers to the area to pay attention to personal safety. The capital of Queensland, Brisbane, and areas of Ipswich, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast are all affected by the floods caused by torrential rain, the Bureau of Consular Affairs said. It reminded Taiwanese students, young people on working holidays, expatriates living in Queensland, tourists and businesspeople planning to travel there that they should stay away from low-lying areas or places close to flooded rivers. The ministry also warned travelers of possible traffic stoppages in the Greek capital of Athens, which has been hit by a series of wildcat strikes by mass transportation system workers.
Producer excited over award
Award-winning US musician Daniel Ho yesterday said he was excited about a Taiwanese Aboriginal album he produced being nominated for a Grammy award for Best World Music Album, and he hoped to introduce the nation’s Aboriginal music to the world. Ho, a six-time Grammy Award winner, said he visited Taiwan three times over the past year to work with six Aboriginal artists on the album, titled On a Gentle Island Breeze (吹過島嶼的風). Ho said that while they do not speak the same language, music has no boundaries and he expressed hope of bringing more Aboriginal melodies from Taiwan to the world stage. Singers on the album include Hao-en (昊恩), a Puyuma, and Amis singer Illid Kaolo, recipient of Best Aboriginal Singer, Best New Artist and Best Aboriginal Album at the Golden Melody Awards last year. Ho’s album was produced by his production company and Taipei-based Wind Music International. The Grammy Awards ceremony will be held on Feb. 10 in Los Angeles.