The number of international tourists visiting Taiwan reached 6.08 million last year, a 9.34 percent increase from the previous year, the Tourism Bureau announced yesterday.
The UN’s World Tourism Organization had previously estimated that global tourism would increase by between 4 percent and 4.5 percent last year, the bureau said, adding that the increase in tourist arrivals in Taiwan last year was twice the global average.
The bureau said the increase in international tourist arrivals helped generate NT$300 billion (US$1 billion) in foreign exchange reserves.
The bureau said the nation succeeded in attracting more foreign tourists, despite the impact of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March, the eurozone debt crisis and flooding in Thailand, as well as challenges on the home front resulting from a deadly derailment on the Alishan Forest Railway and a food additives scare.
The bureau’s statistics showed that the number of international tourists arrivals last month was 648,594, a 22.24 percent increase compared with same period the previous year. It set a record for the largest number of foreign tourists visiting in a single month.
Statistics from the bureau also debunked the notion that the nation was able to achieve such a rapid growth in tourism because of Chinese visitors.
The largest growth was found in tourists from Singapore, with arrivals up 24.14 percent compared with 2010. Tourists from Japan increased by 19.87 percent.
The number of Chinese tourists grew 9.4 percent last year, preceded by the number of South Korean visitors, who increased by 11.99 percent, the statistics showed.
Growth was also reported in the numbers arriving from Malaysia, Europe, the US, and Hong Kong and Macau, with arrivals increasing by 7.76 percent, 4.35 percent, 4.27 percent and 2.97 percent respectively.