Tue, Jan 01, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Government seeking to attract more Singaporeans

Staff writer, with CNA, Singapore

The number of Singaporean tourists visiting Taiwan has been rising steadily and the government is making a determined marketing push via the Internet to keep visitor numbers from the city-state on a steady upward trend.

Attracted by Taiwanese idol dramas, films and music, Singaporeans have been visiting the nation in record numbers in recent years.

In the first 11 months of last year, arrivals from Singapore were up 9.8 percent from a year earlier, reaching 266,922.

With the proliferation of budget airlines and the spread of online travel information, a growing number of Singaporeans — nearly half according to a 2011 Tourism Bureau survey — are traveling to Taiwan on their own rather than as part of tour groups. This has prompted a change in strategy for government agencies responsible for promoting travel to Taiwan.

Arthur Hsieh, the director of the Singapore office of the Taiwan Visitors Association, said his office used to work primarily with travel agencies to increase visitor numbers.

However, the office’s marketing emphasis today has shifted to the Internet to attract more independent-minded Singaporeans, Hsieh said.

Hsieh’s office has set up a Travel Taiwan section on its Facebook page to share the latest tourism information about Taiwan and its number of fans has been rising steadily in the six months since it was launched, he said.

Among the features of Taiwan that have proved popular among Singaporeans and which are actively promoted on the site are the nation’s hospitality, snacks, night markets and B&Bs, the office said.

The travel association’s new approach is aiming to attract travelers like William, a 33-year-old Singaporean. William visited Taiwan in November after reading about it in books, getting tips from friends and researching on the Internet to arrange his trip.

Realizing the potential marketing value of bloggers, Hsieh’s office has also extended invitations to six major bloggers in Singapore to visit Taiwan on theme tours next year.

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