The Matsu Islands, like a string of pearls fallen from the heavens around the mouth of the Min River, are sometimes called the "Pearls of the Eastern Min.” The islands are filled with enchanting mountain and coastal scenery, yet historical happenstance made them hardened fortresses on the sea, shrouded in mystery until military rule was lifted in the area in 1992. On March 15, 1999, the Executive Yuan designated Matsu a National Scenic Area. In June of that year, it permitted the Ministry of Transportation and Communications' Tourism Bureau to establish the Matsu National Scenic Area Administration to take responsibility for development and management work, and it officially began operations on November 26. From that time on, the unique face of Matsu began to be brought out.
Our hope for Matsu, the country's sixth National Scenic Area, is that through the active promotion of the Matsu Islands’ tourism industry, their developable areas will become valuable travel destinations for leisure and relaxation; we further hope that islands including Zhongdao, Tiejian, and Huangguan will become well-known as internationally protected tern habitats, with the “mythical” Chinese Crested Tern attracting more international visitors, making the area a world-class tourist destination. In the more than 10 years since its establishment, the staff of the administration has worked tirelessly to promote the precious tourism resources of Matsu domestically and abroad, and has succeeded in raising the number of visitors to Matsu from 39,000 in 2002 to 86,000 in 2009.
The work of developing the Matsu National Scenic Area is our ongoing responsibility, and the administration will maintain its dedication to its work of raising awareness of the scenic area among the public and carrying out the administration's development plans. We hope to develop the Matsu National Scenic Area into a world-class tourist destination before long.