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COA sets NT$11 bil. goal from leisure farm income

TAIPEI--The Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday it will focus on promoting Taiwan's leisure farms as a tourist attraction and thus help generate revenue of NT$11 billion (US$36.3 million) in the industry this year.

In a report, the COA said it plans to build Taiwan as an agricultural park to attract more local and international visitors to the country's leisure farms.

As part of its plan, the COA said, it will seek to integrate high quality leisure farms around the island, nurture talent, improve service, explore product diversification and expand the leisure tourism market.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah, meanwhile, said he recognized the COA's efforts in the area of leisure farm tourism and hopes the council can revise the relevant regulations and improve management in the industry to help revive rural economies.

The number of visitors to leisure farms in Taiwan increased from 9.59 million in 2008 to 20 million in 2013, according to COA Minister Chen Bao-ji.

In 2013, foreign visitors accounted for 260,000 of the total number, up from 63,700 in 2008, he said.

In terms of specific attractions, themed tours launched by the Tourism Bureau in the eastern areas of Hualien and Taitung attracted 1.2 million visitors in 2013, Chen said.

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