The splendid fireworks during Kaohsiung Lantern Festival heralded the beginning of 2010. In my position as Speaker of Kaohsiung City Council I would like to take this opportunity to wish local residents a Happy Chinese New Year on behalf of all city councilors and staff and to wish everyone health, wealth and good fortune during the Year of the Tiger. My New Year’s resolution for 2010 is to ensure that the quality of life enjoyed by the citizen’s of Kaohsiung continues to improve under the guidance of the City Council and City Govemment.
The coming merger of Kaohsiung City and County in 2010 poses severe challenges for the new government of Greater Kaohsiung. The birth of this new administrative body will require considerable restructuring throughout Kaohsiung, and changes in the industrial environment. However, unclearly defined development objectives will make it difficult to conduct city affairs following the merger. I therefore urge Kaohsiung councilors and government to present an official blue print for the future as the best way to explore the possibilities that await Greater Kaohsiung.
The merger of Kaohsiung City and County will lead to an increase in total area, population and diversity. We cannot rely on the annual Kaohsiung Lantern Festival to attract visitors, nor expect beautifying the city to boost consumption and the tourist industry. We need a comprehensive industrial development strategy to optimize the benefits offered by Kaohsiung Harbor and to enhance our competitiveness in industries such as software development, green energy, yacht manufacturing, and seniors-oriented services. These are some of the areas that will underwrite the future prosperity of Kaohsiung.
Over the past few years, Kaohsiung City Government has made great efforts to improve the way the city looks and feels, including a landscape renewal of the Kaohsiung Harbor area, but this has so far failed to generate increased tourism revenue. This can be attributed to a lack of ambition and failure to initiate cross-strait communications or explore international markets. At the beginning of 2010 a delegation from Kaohsiung City Council visited Beijing and Shanghai to promote trade, industry and business opportunities in the tourism sector in Great Kaohsiung, whilst also exchanging experiences in education and cultural affairs. Each visit helps to break the ice and leads to infinite possibilities. We are confident that more tourists from Mainland China will visit Kaohsiung over the coming year and that will help to revitalize local tourism and bring a range of new business opportunities for Kaohsiung.