Thu, Nov 15, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Foreign tourism growing

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Foreign visitors to Taiwan hit more than 3.01 million for the year last month, marking 4.8 percent growth compared with the same time last year, the Tourism Bureau said yesterday.

Visitors who came on tours grew by 8 percent, while those who came on business trips dropped by 2.4 percent.

The bureau's director general Janice Lai (賴瑟珍) added that the majority of overseas tourists came from five countries, including Japan, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), the US, Korea and Singapore.

When considering the top 10 countries, however, Malaysia had shown the strongest growth of 17.5 percent, she said.

Despite the growth, the bureau looks unlikely to meet its goal of 3.75 million tourists for this year.

FACTORS

Lai said that there were a number of factors explaining the slow increase this year. For one, fewer people in Japan traveled overseas this year, she said.

Chinese visitors who came via a third country, on the other hand, have also seen negative growth. Lai said while 98,000 Chinese visitors visited the nation during the first 10 months of last year, only 70,000 came this year.

SERVICES

While the growth may be minor, Lai emphasized that the bureau is aiming to introduce quality travel services for overseas visitors.

She said several major travel agencies in Europe have begun to arrange package tours to Taiwan, noting that a group of British tourists recently came to hike Yushan (玉山).

The trip lasted 16 days and cost a total of NT$160,000, she said.

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