The Taipei International Travel Fair, the highest-profile event for the nation’s travel and tourism industry, is to take place late next month, even though the COVID-19 pandemic would likely limit participation to domestic players, organizers said yesterday.
However, the annual show, to be held at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, might turn out to be the world’s largest in-person travel exhibition this year, the Taiwan Visitors Association (台灣觀光協會) said.
“We decided to go ahead and hold the event, despite lingering industry headwinds,” the association said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has largely shut down international travel since March.
Tourism sectors around the world might not emerge from border controls and social distancing requirements until the final quarter of next year, assuming that vaccines become prevalent, it said, citing international research bodies.
The number of this year’s participants might decline to 1,000, the lowest in three years and down from last year’s 1,700 visitors from more than 60 countries, as many foreign travel agencies and airline companies cannot travel to Taiwan, the association said.
Delegations from Japan and South Korea are still planning to attend, association secretary-general Luo Chiung-ya (羅瓊雅) told reporters.
However, Japan would only have 45 booths in its pavilion, compared with 150 last year, while South Korea would only have one-third of the 60 booths that it set up last year, Luo said.
The four-day show would focus on promoting local tourism, and representatives from various local governments would join forces with hotels and recreational facilities to win potential customers, the association said, adding that it plans to pitch in-depth experiences to travelers, helping them to gain an appreciation of the beauty and cultural history of distinct travel destinations.
The fair would include panels of tourism industry experts and travel pundits, who would share information with visitors greeted by mascots from popular destinations, the association said.
Despite the scaled-back program, Lou said that the association hopes that the fair will attract at least 300,000 people, close to last year’s 384,834.
The association said that it has launched an online travel fair that offers discounted travel packages and meals for next month’s Mid-Autumn Festival and Double Ten National Day holidays to boost local tourism, which has been hard hit by the fallout from the pandemic.
Additional reporting by CNA
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