Taiwan targets 4 million foreign visitors in 2008


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan still hopes to attract 4 million tourists from abroad for the whole of 2008, the country’s top official in charge of tourism said yesterday.

Janice Lai, director-general of the Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, said that despite the fact that global economic volatility has affected the growth in the number of tourist arrivals, the Tourism Bureau will stick to its plan to help attract some 4 million tourists this year.

“We will strive to achieve that goal whatever it takes,” Lai said during a ceremony held at the ministry, where the winners of a “most tourist-friendly cities and counties in Taiwan” competition were cited and awarded.

Lai said the 3 millionth tourist this year is likely to arrive Oct. 14.

The eastern county of Hualien won the championship in the category of natural environment as it is home to the Taroko Gorge National Park, an impressive 19-km canyon of marble and granite, and is situated on the east coast facing the Pacific Ocean nestled among mountains as high as 3,800 meters.