Taiwan’s tourism industry has indirectly benefited from worsening relations between Japan and South Korea, Taiwan Tourism Development Association vice president Ko Mu-chou (柯牧洲) said, while another industry source said that the effects would be limited.
If Taiwan is able to grasp the opportunity, in addition to the steady growth in visitor arrivals from Japan and South Korea in the second half of the year, it could see arrivals from those two nations increase by an additional 5 percent, Ko said.
Due to reports of violence in Hong Kong, many Japanese student groups that were originally going on exchange trips to Hong Kong have instead come to Taiwan, he said.
However, as the hotel sector is entering its peak season, it might be difficult for hotels to accommodate groups of more than 300, he said.
Many South Korean tour groups have recently changed their destinations from Japan to Taiwan due to the trade dispute between Japan and South Korea, said a travel agent who has worked with Japanese and South Korean clients for several years.
However, the number of groups that have done so has not been as high as expected, primarily because over the past few years Taiwan’s tourism market has not changed, said the agent, who asked not to be named.
Over the past decade, no new attractions have rivalled the National Palace Museum or Taipei 101, the agent said.
While the dispute would benefit the tourism sector in the short term, the long-term effects would still depend on demand and whether Taiwan appeals to travelers, they said.
Without a new “product,” Taiwan cannot attract visitors, the agent said, adding that Japanese and South Korean travelers have options other than Taiwan.
The government should focus on telling visitors what they can do in Taiwan and developing new attractions and infrastructure.
China on Wednesday announced that it was suspending a program that allowed individual tourists from 47 Chinese cities to travel to Taiwan, citing the current state of relations between the two sides.
Chinese nationals may only travel to Taiwan as tourists if they are part of tour groups, the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism said in a statement.
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