Taiwan saw a record number of visitors last year, but per-capita visitor spending declined by nearly 12 percent year-on-year, government statistics released yesterday show.
Each inbound passenger spent an average of US$1,601 in the nation last year, down US$217, or 11.9 percent, from 2011, according to figures compiled by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS).
The number of visitors reached 7.311 million last year, up 20.1 percent from the previous year, pushing up total expenditure by visitors to US$11.7 billion, which was about a 5.8 percent increase from a year earlier.
Tourism Bureau officials said the fall in per-capita spending last year resulted primarily from a huge jump in spending in 2011 by Japanese visitors to the nation, which was up 22.97 percent at US$348 per day, from US$283 per day in 2010.
Japanese visitors spent more on leisure activities such as spas and hot springs following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, and the subsequent nuclear accident in Japan, officials said.
Daily spending by Japanese visitors is likely to have normalized last year, the bureau said.
“The average spending per visitor last year actually followed the trend of between a 2 percent and 3 percent rise in average spending per visitor from 2006 to 2010. It’s just that spending really soared in 2011, so last year looked like a poor year,” the bureau’s planning division said.
Regarding outbound tourism, Taiwanese made 10.24 million overseas visits last year, up 6.8 percent from the previous year, but per-capita expenditure dropped slightly from US$1,055 to US$1,038, DGBAS figures showed.
Total outbound tourist expenditure was US$10.63 billion last year, up 5.1 percent on a year-on-year basis, the figures showed.
As a result, the country registered a US$1.08 billion travel surplus last year, DGBAS officials said.