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Tourist arrivals to reach 6.5 million in 2011

TAIPEI -- Tourist arrivals in Taiwan are expected to exceed 5.5 million this year and soar to 6.5 million next year, Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chih-kuo said yesterday.

Addressing the opening of a tourism promotion conference, Mao said the number of visitors in 2010 broke the 5 million mark on Nov. 26, surging far past the 4.4 million recorded for the whole of last year.

By the end of this year, Mao said, tourist arrivals could reach 5.5 million.

“It is a remarkable feat to register such a big increase in just one year,” Mao said.

Citing an estimate by the Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communication, Mao said the number of visitors will continue to rise in the coming year to a new high of 6.5 million.

Nevertheless, he said, Taiwan's tourism industry is now at a critical juncture and needs an overhaul and reform.

The tourism conference is being held under the theme “new products, new markets and new trends,” he noted. “It is a brainstorming session to devise innovative and marketable packages to attract more foreign tourists to Taiwan and to offer local and foreign travelers a brand new travel experience,” the minister explained.

He suggested that operators in the cultural, creative, medical, health care, shopping and exhibition service sectors pool their ideas to design attractive tour packages for visitors from around the world and to create new business opportunities.

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