The nation may welcome its 8 millionth international visitor of the year by the end of this month, the Tourism Bureau said yesterday.
The bureau had set a goal of having 7.7 million international tourists visit the nation this year, which was met on Saturday.
Vice Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said last week that he hoped the bureau could reach 8 million international visitors this year.
Based on the bureau’s statistics, the nation needs another 20,000 to 25,000 international tourists to hit the 8 million mark.
The bureau forecast that the 8 millionth visitor could either arrive on Dec. 31 or Jan.1, adding that it would use the holiday season as an opportunity to meet the goal.
Further analysis of the statistics showed that about 70 percent of the international visitors came to the nation this year for tourism.
Meanwhile, China has emerged as the nation’s No. 1 source of tourists from overseas. About 2.58 million Chinese tourists came to Taiwan last year, with that number being matched by last month.
Although China’s implementation of a tourism law in October caused the number of Chinese tourists arriving in tour groups to decrease, the increase in the number of free independent travelers visiting from China more than compensated for the loss.
Tourists from Japan, the nation’s second-largest source of international tourists, declined due to the devaluation of the Japanese yen.
To encourage more Japanese tourists to visit Taiwan, the bureau said it had stepped up its tourism campaigns in the second half of this year.
The number of Japanese tourists stabilized again in September and it could exceed 1.4 million this year, the bureau added.
The bureau forecast that the number of tourists from Singapore and Malaysia could grow by 10 percent this year, despite the limited availability of direct flights.
The number of South Korean tourists is forecast to increase by 30 percent this year.
The bureau said South Korea has seen highest growth thanks to the appreciation of South Korea won, an increased number of direct flights and marketing campaigns.