Taiwan salutes 8 millionth visitor

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Jan 01, 2014 - Page 3

The tourism industry reached another milestone yesterday with the arrival of the 8 millionth international visitor, surpassing the goal the Tourism Bureau set this year.

The bureau announced that Japanese tourist Aya Omote, who arrived with her husband, Syuhei, at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 1pm on an EVA Airways flight, would be given various gifts valued at NT$500,000 (US$16,773) in celebration of the special occasion.

The couple are to receive two round-trip business-class tickets to anywhere in Asia from Taiwan provided by China Airlines and EVA Airways, coupons for free accommodation in five-star hotels and tickets to an entertainment complex. In addition, they are being treated to free wedding photographs by a local company.

Other gifts included tour bus tickets, a three-day pass for the high-speed rail, bicycles and electronic devices.

The bureau said Omote and her husband live in Niigata, Japan, and were married on Dec. 3. They came to Taiwan for their honeymoon and had planned to spend four days in the nation.

Omote was quickly surrounded by personnel from the Tourism Bureau and the National Immigration Agency after she was identified as the 8 millionth visitor.

Her husband panicked, wondering if his wife had done something illegal. Their doubts and anxiety ceased after they were told Aya Omote was the lucky person the bureau had been expecting, before they were greeted with flowers and a lion dance performance.

Omote said she found it hard to believe that she had won such a big prize and that she would share her story with people she knows when she returns to Japan.

Omote said that she would visit the country again because she loves Taiwanese food, which was why she chose to have her honeymoon here.

Aside from visiting Jiufen (九份) and night markets, Omote said she would check out the National Palace Museum and the firework show at Taipei 101 last night.

The bureau forecast that the revenue gained from the tourism industry grew from NT$348.4 billion in 2012 to NT$374.2 billion last year.