Since taking office, and as part of its New Southbound Policy, the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen has been loudly banging the drum to attract tourists from other countries, to counteract the loss of tourism revenue caused by an exodus of Chinese tourists. The latest statistics show that the strategy is bearing fruit, with 1,211,900 tourists from Southeast Asian countries traveling to Taiwan in the first half of this year, snapping at the heels of the 1,313,400 Chinese tourists that visited over the same period. Additionally, the number of Southeast Asian tourists visiting Taiwan grew by more than 17.49 percent on last year, compared with only a 3.83 rise in the number of Chinese tourists. Industry projections show that if the current growth rate of Southeast Asian tourists continues into the second half of this year, the annual figure will exceed the number of Chinese tourists for the first time since Taiwan opened up its market to Chinese tourists.
Lion Travel Service general manager Andy Yu attributes the increased numbers of Southeast Asian tourists to the gradual introduction of visa-free entry since 2016, in addition to China Airlines, EVA Airways and a number of budget airlines opening new routes or increasing the number of flights between Taiwan and Southeast Asian countries, helping to open up the Southeast Asian market.
According to data compiled by the Tourism Bureau, while the number of Southeast Asian tourists continued to steadily grow in the first half of this year, tourism from the Philippines and Vietnam grew the most, increasing by 60.5 and 39.07 percent, respectively.
Photo: Chang Hsieh-sheng, Liberty Times
Yu attributes the dramatic increase in tourism from the Philippines to the nation’s rapid economic growth, which has lead to increased disposable income and gradually stabilized incomes, causing Filipino tourist numbers to increase faster than from any other country. Yu adds that the majority of Filipino tourists travel as families and in inter-generational groups, while the adoption rate of mobile technology in the Philippines is relatively high, so that when traveling to tourist spots, Filipino tourists generally check-in, “like” and share on Facebook or Instagram. According to Yu, feedback from friends and family and opinions posted on social media tend to influence people’s travel plans.
(Translated by Edward Jones)
1. The government’s strategy to promote tourism from countries other than China is beginning to show signs of success. (true/false)
2. Chinese tourist numbers increased at a faster rate than visitor numbers from Southeast Asian countries. (true/false)
3. Visitors from Southeast Asian countries are expected to surpass Chinese visitors this year. (true/false)
4. The increased income of Filipinos is one reason for the sharp rise in visitors to Taiwan. (true/false)
5. Most Filipino tourists who visit Taiwan travel alone or in small groups. (true/false)
6. Most Filipinos obtain travel advice through social media recommendations. (true/false)
(Edward Jones, Taipei Times)
1. bang the drum phr.
積極推動 (ji1 ji2 tui1 dong4)
2. exodus n.
流失 (liu2 shi1)
3. bear fruit phr.
奏效 (zou4 xiao4)
4. snap at the heels phr.
逼近 (bi1 jin4)
5. budget airline phr.
廉價航空 (lian2 jia4 hang2 kong1)
6. economic growth phr.
經濟成長 (jing1 ji4 cheng2 zhang3)
7. disposable income phr.
可支配收入 (ke3 zhi1 pei4 shou1 ru4)
8. feedback n.
回饋 (hui2 kui4)
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