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Taiwan's cruise tourism market seen strong, growing
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Taipei, April 6 (CNA) Demand in Taiwan's cruise tourism market has been strong over the past year and the momentum is expected to continue, government officials and cruise line operators said Thursday.

Trey Hickey, senior vice president of international sales for Princess Cruises, said the Taiwan market grew rapidly in 2016 compared with 2013, when the company set up a subsidiary in Taiwan.

"We are true believers in the long-term potential of the Taiwan cruise market -- both in terms of inbound and outbound travel," Hickey said.

"In just a few short years, we have already carried over 100,000 passengers in and out of Taiwan, including significant numbers of long-haul travelers from the U.S., Europe, and Australia, as well as regional travelers from Japan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia," he said.

According to Princess Cruises, another 20,000 passengers are likely to take its service by the end of 2017, particularly as it recently added the southern port city of Kaohsiung to its Taiwan calls, which were confined to Keelung Port in the north of the country.

Kuo Tien-kuei, president of Taiwan International Ports Corporation (TIPC), said cruise travel will become a highlight of Taiwan's tourism industry in the future.

TIPC has forecast 30 percent annual growth in both the number of cruise ships and passengers to Taiwan in 2017.

The state-run port management company has estimated that about 600 cruise ships will sail in and out of Taiwan this year, 30 percent more than in 2016, and cruise ship passengers will rise by the same percentage to 1 million.