New Delhi, March 30 (CNA) Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (???) explained during a visit to India on Thursday that his description of Hong Kong as a tiny boring island was intended to highlight the fact that Taipei is a more enjoyable city.
Ko made the controversial comment during a recent trip to Thailand as part of a tour of Southeast Asia to promote tourism in Taipei.
Ko noted that Hong Kong is a popular destination for Thai tourists, with about 500,000 visitors each year to the special administrative region of China. However, the mayor said he was confident the number of Thai tourist arrivals to Taiwan will soon surpass that of Hong Kong.
When asked about Taiwan's advantages over Hong Kong as a tourist destination, Ko said Hong Kong was nothing more than a tiny boring island with few attractions for prospective visitors.
Ko's aides subsequently explained that what the mayor meant was Taipei is a more attractive place to visit for Thai tourists given its gourmet food, cultural and historic heritage sites and hot springs nestled in the lush mountain foothills ringing the Taipei Basin as well as its range of convenient air transportation services.
On Thursday, during a tour of Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, in Delhi, Ko cited data indicating that the number of Thai visitors to Taiwan has increased from roughly 100,000 annually over the past few years to more than 195,640 in 2016, with the introduction of a visa-free program for Thai tourists that took effect in August last year.
According to the Thai Travel Agents Association (TTAA), the number of Thai visitor arrivals in Taiwan is expected to reach about 300,000 this year, Ko noted.
Taiwan is a fun and interesting place to come for a vacation because it offers a lot to eat, to see and even its political TV talk shows are entertaining, Ko said, asking why would visitors choose Hong Kong rather than Taiwan?
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel