Taiwan hopes to attract 2 million Japanese visitors per year, Tourism Bureau Director-General Chou Yung-hui (周永暉) said at his inauguration yesterday, adding that he aims to attain that goal within one year.
The former Taiwan Railways Administration director-general was supposed to assume the new position at the end of last month, but he was asked to stay at the railway agency for three more weeks as train drivers and passenger service personnel threatened to go on strike during the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, which ended on Sunday.
Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said the bureau is facing new challenges following a drop in the number of Chinese visitors, but he believes Chou is up to the challenge, as he has formed several successful partnerships with Japanese railway operators, such as the Railway Bento Festival.
Wang said the nation drew more than 1.6 million Japanese visitors last year, and Chou’s first task would be to find ways to boost the number to 2 million within two years.
Chou said he aims to achieve that goal in one year, adding that creativity and innovation could help the tourism industry develop further.
The industry needs a platform that would integrate various resources from academia, industry, government, media and social networks, with different parties working together to identify different markets’ needs, he said.
Big data analysis can help the bureau find out where the demand is, Chou said.
“We should use this opportunity to revisit our domestic tourism environment and ask us how much we know about our natural scenery,” he said.
“Do we really know the tourism markets in Japan, South Korea and India? We need to create our own tourism values and tailor our tourism campaigns to meet the needs of travelers from those countries. Taiwan should not restrict itself to the old way, as it would never lead us to a new place,” he said, adding that he would listen to advice from industry leaders and experts.
Asked about a delegation of eight pan-blue county commissioners and deputy commissioners from northern and central Taiwan visiting China to attract investments and seek cross-strait tourism exchanges, Chou said people should view the trip in a positive light, as long as the central and local governments work together to advance the nation’s tourism development.
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