A record number of countries and areas have registered for this year’s Taipei International Travel Fair (ITF), local media reported.
According to the reports, 900 units from 60 countries or areas will operate a total of 1,350 booths at the fair set to open on Oct. 18 at Taipei World Trade Center Hall 1.
The fair, which will run through Oct. 21, is expected to draw 280,000 visitors this year.
The Japan Tourism Agency is the largest single exhibitor, renting 110 stands.
The number of Taiwanese visitors to Japan has grown more than 50 percent so far this year, and many Japanese tour operators want to take part in the Taipei fair to attract even more tourists, tourism sources said.
According to statistics released by the Tourism Bureau, Taiwanese made 7.4 million overseas trips in the first eight months of this year, up 6 percent year-on-year.
The number of outbound passengers is expected to break the 10 million mark for the first time this year to reach 11 million, tourism officials said.
China remains the most popular destination, while Japan came a close second.
The Taipei Travel Fair, organized by the Taiwan Visitors Association (TVA), has been held for the past 21 years and has emerged as one of the most popular travel shows in Asia.
The event attracted 260,000 visitors last year, with NT$1.5 billion (US$51 million) of tour packages bought during the four-day fair.
Several countries will take part in the show for the first time this year, including Argentina, Chile, the Netherlands, Poland and the Seychelles.
TVA officials said one of the major factors attracting foreign tour operators to the Taipei show is that Taiwan boasts one of Asia’s highest ratios of outbound travelers in proportion to population size. Taiwan beats Japan in that ratio.
China, South Korea and Southeast Asian nations are offering discounts to attract Taiwanese.
The Philippines will offer many incentives and free tour packages in an effort to rekindle Taiwan interest in visiting its tourist destinations.
Taiwanese tourist arrivals in the Philippines were affected by a three-month travel ban due to a diplomatic row sparked by the shooting death of a Taiwanese fisherman by Philippine Coast Guard personnel in May.
Major local travel agencies are also offering Europe, US and Australia-bound packages with attractive prices.