The Taipei International Travel Fair is expected to inject new life into the tourism sector when it opens on Friday, the Taiwan Visitors Association said.
The nation’s largest travel fair, which has been held annually since 1987, will have five new participating countries this year: Argentina, Chile, the Seychelles, the Netherlands and Poland, said the association, which organizes the event.
About 900 tourism organizations from 60 countries are scheduled to attend the fair, up from 850 organizations last year, it added.
A total of 1,350 exhibition booths are to be set up at the Taipei World Trade Center from Friday to Monday, 12.5 percent more than at last year’s event, the association said.
Both the number of booths and the number of tourism organizations at the exposition this year are record-highs, association chairman Su Cherng-tyan (蘇成田) said.
Aside from attracting travelers who want to find discount package tours, the fair also draws many tour operators looking for business partners, Su said.
In addition to the display booths, the four-day event will feature seminars on industry-related topics such as the future of the tourism market for retirees and independent travelers, the organizer said.
Eric Lin (林坤源), director of the Tourism Bureau’s international travel division, said that the number of foreign tourist arrivals last year exceeded 7.3 million.
With 5.2 million foreign visitor arrivals in the first eight months of the year, the total number of tourists could reach 7.7 million this year, Lin said, adding that the bureau is aiming to attract 10 million overseas visitors annually within two years.
“We hope that the travel fair can give our business partners and peers overseas a better understanding of Taiwan’s tourism resources,” he said.
Among the fair’s travel deals is a 50-day tour of the US and Europe that costs just NT$300,000 (US$10,200). However, it is restricted to students and teachers under 26.
Several airlines are also offering weekend get-away deals to Taitung that cost less than NT$3,000, including airfare and accommodation, while round-trip tickets to Hong Kong are as low as NT$3,188.
Many travel agencies also offer three to five-day packages that cost less than NT$10,000 for independent travelers to Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea.