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Premier calls for 9 million visitors from abroad in '14

TAIPEI -- Premier Jiang Yi-huah yesterday called for a target of 9 million foreign visitors to Taiwan this year, after the country welcomed its 8 millionth of 2013 on Dec. 31.

“I hope that there will be 9 million visits in 2014,” Jiang said.

Because of the record arrivals figure, Taiwan's foreign exchange earnings from tourism exceeded NT$370 billion (US$12.4 billion) last year, Jiang said.

He noted that the number of foreign visitors has increased annually by 1 million since 2008, when President Ma Ying-jeou took office.

Although great food, scenery and hospitality are what often attract tourists to Taiwan, government agencies have also been promoting the country's other strengths, such as medical tourism, cycling vacations and cultural and creative industry tourism, he said.

“Taiwan definitely has the ability to become a big tourism country,” Jiang said.

The premier said he hopes that all government agencies will make efforts to build Taiwan into a country focused on tourism and other “no chimney” industries over the next decade.

Thirty-two-year-old Japanese woman Aya Omote was the 8 millionth foreign visitor to Taiwan in 2013. Omote and her husband came to Taiwan for their honeymoon.

Taiwan recorded 7.3 million foreign visitors in 2012 and had projected 7.7 million for 2013, a target that was reached Dec. 21.

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