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Taipei's Palace Museum to expand

(Xinhua)

09:06, May 02, 2012

TAIPEI, May 1 (Xinhua) -- Taipei's Palace Museum will expand its exhibition area to accommodate growing numbers of visitors, according to Taiwanese authorities in charge of economic construction.

The expanded exhibition hall, together with a cultural creativity center, will be built near the museum's current site, according to a plan passed on Tuesday.

The museum will put up 80 percent of the cost, estimated to be between 20 billion New Taiwan dollars (NTD; 686.3 million U.S. dollars) and 30 billion NTD.

The culture creativity center and the hall will be completed in 2016 and 2024, respectively, according to the plan.

The project is estimated to bring back 151 billion NTD in economic returns in 30 years, help create 6,500 jobs every year during the construction period and provide employment for 2,200 people annually after 2024, according to a spokesman.

Tourist numbers are expected to hit 4.4 million per year after 2016 and are set to double the current figure to hit 7 million per year by 2041.

Visitors have flocked to the museum since authorities in Taiwan lifted a ban on mainlanders traveling to the island in July 2008. Taipei's Palace Museum is considered a must-see destination on mainlanders' Taiwan trips.

The mainland is currently the biggest source of tourists to the island. More than 210,000 tourists from the Chinese mainland visited Taiwan in April, a record monthly high, an official with the island's tourism department said Tuesday.

In 2011, more than 1.78 million mainland residents visited Taiwan, a year-on-year increase of 9.4 percent, taking up nearly one third of the 6.08 million visitors the island received last year, according to Taiwan's tourism authorities.

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