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Taiwan poised to receive 11 million visitors this year: minister

2018/11/23 19:54:10

Taipei, Nov. 23 (CNA) Taiwan's efforts to attract tourists are expected to help the nation achieve the goal of 11 million visitors this year, Minister without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen (張景森) said Friday.

With the government's New Southbound Policy bearing fruit, Taiwan is poised to see 11 million visitors this year, Chang said during the opening of the annual Taipei International Travel Fair, which is being held at Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center through Nov. 26.

Taiwan received 10 million visitors for the first time in 2015, and has maintained that level for the last two years.

Hopefully we will be able to achieve 12 million visitors next year, he added.

Transportation Minister Wu Hong-mo (吳宏謀), who was also at the opening ceremony, said the Tourism Bureau, which is under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), has been promoting Taiwan to new emerging markets all year, for example by providing Muslim-friendly facilities and services for visitors from Southeast Asian countries.

Taiwan's easing of visa restrictions, promulgated as part of the government's New Southbound Policy, has also helped boost visitor arrivals, Wu said, citing Vietnam and the Philippines as examples, from where visitor arrivals grew by 36.1 percent and 53.24 percent in the first nine months of this year.

In September, Taiwan also announced visa-free entry for Russian nationals as part of its efforts to promote closer exchanges, he said.

The government will continue to look for innovative ways to promote Taiwan, the minister said, describing the island's geography, culture and food an untapped attractions.

The travel fair, the largest of its kind in Taiwan, last year had 1,650 booths, attracted about 360,000 visitors and created in gross revenue for the industry of NT$3 billion (US$99 million), official data shows.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Ko Lin)