The number of Southeast Asian visitors to Taiwan surged 13.8 percent to a record 2.42 million last year, according to the MOI. (Courtesy of Tourism Bureau)
The number of Southeast Asian visitors to Taiwan rose 13.8 percent to a record 2.42 million last year, spotlighting the success of the government’s New Southbound Policy, the Ministry of the Interior said April 17.
Arrivals from Southeast Asia accounted for 21.89 percent of the 11 million-plus total recorded in 2018, according to the MOI. This marked the ninth consecutive year of visitor growth from the region.
The top five sources of foreign arrivals to Taiwan in 2018 were China, 2.66 million; Japan, 1.96 million; Hong Kong and Macao, 1.53 million; South Korea, 1.01 million; and the U.S., 550,000. In the terms of visitor number growth, the Philippines led the way, followed by Vietnam, Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia, the MOI data showed.
According to the ministry, the surge in arrivals from Southeast Asia is due to a host of measures enacted under the NSP such as the easing of visa regulations.
Other factors include the growing popularity of budget airlines and rise in the number of flight routes. A total of 30 new routes were launched in 2018, with 70 percent of these serving airports in East and Southeast Asia, the MOI said.
Overall, the number of inbound and outbound passengers reached 55.26 million in Taiwan last year, equating to a more than 100 percent increase from 2008.
In terms of outbound travel, Japan remained the destination of choice for Taiwan visitors, followed by China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Thailand. The latter registered the largest growth in 2018 at 18.46 percent to 679,145.
A key plank of President Tsai Ing-wen’s national development strategy, the NSP is deepening Taiwan’s agricultural, business, cultural, education, trade and tourism links with Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand. (HC-E)