Mon, Sep 17, 2012 - Page 3 News List

International tourist numbers grow: bureau

HOLIDAY MONEY-MAKERS:The Tourism Bureau has pinned its hopes on double-digit growth in visitors numbers and is now also targeting Muslim travelers

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The Tourism Bureau estimated yesterday that the number of international tourists would set a record this year by exceeding 7 million.

Last year, a total of 6.08 million international visitors visited Taiwan.

Statistics from the bureau showed that a total of 4,776,022 international tourists visited the nation between January and August this year, registering year-on-year growth of 24.76 percent.

The bureau indicated that the number of international tourists reached double digit growth each month, with the percentage of growth exceeding 30 percent in March and in June.

Specifically, the number of Chinese tourists has increased by 54 percent during this period, which was ranked No. 1 among all the other source countries for visitors. It was followed by travelers from Hong Kong and Macau as well as those from Japan, which grew by 28.9 percent and 18.35 percent respectively.

If growth continues without disruption, the total number of international tourists could exceed 7 million this year, the bureau said.

The bureau further noted that it has aimed to gradually raise the number of international visitors to 10 million each year by 2016.

It has planned to expand the sources for international visitors by tapping into markets in India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, in which a new generation of wealthy consumers has emerged thanks to fast economic growth.

It has also planned to attract more Muslim visitors from Malaysia, Brunei and the northwest of China.

Meanwhile, the bureau said that it would streamline the application procedures for entry permits for independent travelers and business travelers from China as a way to motivate more people with higher purchasing power to visit the country.

The bureau intends to focus on six major tourism themes in its marketing strategy next year, including the nation’s cuisine, culture, healthy and sustainable lifestyles, eco-tourism and shopping.

It also plans to publish the Taiwan Tourism Calendar, which would show the events and festivals held by either the central government or local governments.

The calendar would feature photographs of the nation’s characteristic events, including the hot air balloon festival in Taitung, beehive firecrackers in Greater Tainan and the Sky Lantern Festival in Pingsi (平溪), New Taipei City (新北市).

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