Taiwan on Thursday welcomed a Japanese woman as the island’s 8 millionth visitor for 2013, showering her with gifts. Aya Omote, a 32-year-old newlywed from Niigata Prefecture, said she was surprised to learn of the news upon her arrival at Taoyuan International Airport on Tuesday. “After I return to Japan, I’ll tell my friends and relatives about the wonderful experience I had here,” she said. “I’ll also tell them to visit Taiwan.”
Omote, who got married Dec. 3, arrived with her husband on New Year’s Eve to spend their honeymoon here for four days and three nights. Making her first visit to Taiwan, Omote said many of her friends had told her about the island’s hospitality, beautiful landscape and delicious food.
As the 8 millionth visitor, Omote received more than 80 different gifts worth more than 500,000 New Taiwan dollars (¥1.76 million), including several round-trip tickets as well as gifts from hotels, restaurants and wedding photo shops.
China replaced Japan as the largest source of visitors to Taiwan in 2010 after it relaxed a ban on visitors from the mainland in July 2008 in the wake of improved cross-strait ties. Taiwan has since enjoyed a steady increase in revenue from tourism, with foreign visitors generating an estimated NT$374.2 billion in 2013, an increase of NT$25.7 billion from the previous year when 7.3 million tourists visited from overseas.