The government aims to increase visitors to the nation from countries targeted by the New Southbound Policy by 200,000 annually starting next year, sources said on Sunday.
Visitors from these countries are expected to reach nearly 2.8 million people this year, sources said.
The government this year has funded internships in countries covered by the policy for 2,000 Taiwanese post-secondary students and plans to subsidize 2,500 students next year, they said.
The government is assisting businesses with the transition to South and Southeast Asian markets, with a focus on cosmetics and beauty products, as well as medical and food products, they said, adding that some businesses are opening stores in these countries, while others are expanding through online retail platforms.
Last year, there were 11.06 million international visitors to Taiwan — the fourth year in a row with more than 10 million international visitors, government statistics showed.
The increase in the number of visitors from New Southbound Policy countries has made up for a decrease in Chinese tourists that began in 2016, the Executive Yuan’s Office of Trade Negotiations said.
Last year, there were 816,000 fewer Chinese visitors than in 2016, but the number of South Asian and Southeast Asian visitors grew by 805,000 over the period, reaching an annual high of 2.59 million people, it said.
The growth in the tourism markets represented by the 18 target countries is slowly making them the mainstay of Taiwan’s tourism industry, the office said.
This year has already seen a 4.99 percent increase in visitors from those markets and combined they represent 21.7 percent of all visitors, it said.
The government estimates that the total number of visitors from those countries might reach 2.8 million for the full year, sources said.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare said it would promote the establishment of “overseas medical consultation companies” to help with the export of medical equipment to the 18 countries, with a goal to build hospitals, sources said.
However, continued investment in the region would rely on funding from the Executive Yuan, they said.
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