Taiwan Today: President Tsai to leave for Paraguay, Belize Sunday, Taoyuan airport not a competitive transit hub

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) will visit two of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, Paraguay and Belize, Aug. 12-20.

President Tsai to leave for Paraguay, Belize Sunday

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) will embark Sunday on a nine-day overseas trip, which will take her to two of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies, Paraguay and Belize, the Presidential Office said Thursday.

During her visit to Paraguay Aug. 14-16, the president will attend the inauguration of President-elect Mario Abdo Benitez on Aug 15. She will also hold talks with Abdo Benitez and outgoing President Horacio Cartes.

Tsai will transit in the United States — Los Angeles on the first leg of the journey and Houston on the return trip, according to the office.

Taoyuan airport not a competitive transit hub: report

The volume of transit passengers at Taiwan’s main airport has not been growing as fast as at others in the region, despite the government’s goal of making the Taoyuan airport a major transfer hub in East Asia, a local newspaper reported Thursday.

According to the Chinese-language United Evening News, the annual growth in transit passenger volume at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport increased minimally from 9.48 percent in 2014 to 10.98 percent in 2017.

Citing the 2017 annual report of the National Audit Office (NAO), the newspaper said that in 2016, the growth rate at the Taoyuan airport was 10.55 percent, compared with 29.5 percent at Hong Kong International Airport, 26.7 percent at Singapore Changi Airport, 24.8 percent at Bangkok Airport, 22.5 percent at Narita Airport, and 17 percent at Incheon International Airport.

The only major airport in East Asia that had a slower growth in transfer passengers was Beijing Capital International (10 percent), the report said.

It said Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications’ (MOTC) efforts to court more transit passengers, who contribute significantly to airports’ profits, have not been very effective.

According to the Chinese-language United Evening News, the annual growth in transit passenger volume at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport increased minimally from 9.48 percent in 2014 to 10.98 percent in 2017.

Kinmen records new high in ferry passenger numbers for July

The number of ferry passengers traveling between Taiwan-controlled Kinmen Island and China’s Fujian Province set a new monthly high of 170,893 in July, according to the Kinmen County government.

Citing statistics compiled by the National Immigration Agency, the Kinmen authorities said the record high number of arrivals and departures was 22,985 higher than the figure posted a year ago, representing a year-on-year growth of 15.5 percent.

A total of 32,463 Chinese visitors entered Kinmen from China via the ferry services in July, marking an annual increase of 14.8 percent compared with the 28,275 arrivals registered in the same month of the previous year, the Kinmen authorities said.

During the first seven months of this year, a total of 1,052,257 visitors entered and left Kinmen using the ferry services, up 6.1 percent from the year-earlier level of 991,540. In the January-July period, 207,584 Chinese visitors landed on Kinmen, reflecting an 11.9 percent growth over the year-earlier level of 185,458.

Citing statistics compiled by the National Immigration Agency, the Kinmen authorities said the record high number of arrivals and departures was 22,985 higher than the figure posted a year ago, representing a year-on-year growth of 15.5 percent.