Taiwan records 10 millionth foreign visitor for 2018

Taipei, Dec. 3 (CNA) Foreign visitor arrivals to Taiwan this year reached 10 million on the weekend, hitting that mark for the fourth consecutive year, a tourism official said Monday.

The 10 millionth arrival was recorded late Sunday but the Tourism Bureau does not yet have the details such as the visitor’s name or nationality, said Huang Yi-ping (黃怡平), a section chief at the bureau’s International Travel Division.

“Since it is the fourth year that we have reached the 10 million mark, there will be no special celebration of that milestone, but rather a special event will be held when the number surpasses last year’s total,” Huang said.

In 2017, Taiwan recorded 10.7 million foreign visitor arrivals, Huang noted, adding that the 10 million milestone was reached two weeks earlier this year.

Taiwan’s largest sources of tourism are China, Japan, Hong Kong/Macau, South Korea and the United States, in that order, which together have accounted for 70 percent of arrivals so far this year, according to Tourism Bureau data.

The number of visitors from Japan is expected to break the 2 million mark by the end of the year, compared with 1.89 million in 2017, Huang said.

While arrivals from China have declined, the Tourism Bureau has been diversifying its marketing in line with the Taiwan government’s New Southbound Policy, she indicated.

So far this year, Huang said, 25 percent of the foreign visitor arrivals have been from the 18 countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Oceania listed in the southbound policy.

The annual increase this year in arrivals from Southeast Asian countries has been 20 percent, from the Philippines 50 percent, and from Vietnam 30 percent, she said.

Arrivals from long-haul travel markets such as Canada and Europe have also been on the rise, recording an annual growth rate of 6-16 percent this year, Huang said.