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Taiwan tourism revenue grows quickly on peaceful cross-Strait relations

TAIPEI, Feb. 20 -- Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou said Friday that peaceful cross-Strait relations contributed to the rapid growth of Taiwan's tourism industry, which saw new highs in revenues and inbound tourists.

Ma said at a conference that the island welcomed 10.43 million inbound tourists in 2015, up more than 180 percent from 3.71 million in 2007 and topping 10 million for the first time in history.

Meanwhile, revenue from inbound visitors surged 164 percent to 452.8 billion New Taiwan dollars (13.6 billion U.S. dollars).

Peaceful relations across the Taiwan Strait and the island's opening policies are important pillars for the fast growth in tourism, Ma said, adding that tourists from the mainland last year accounted for about 40 percent of total inbound tourists.

Data from the tourism agency showed 4.18 million visitors from the mainland went to Taiwan last year, up 4.94 percent year on year.

In the first three quarters of 2015, average daily consumption by mainland visitors stood at 232.15 U.S. dollars, the highest among tourists from all countries and regions.