Taipei, Sept. 15 (CNA) The number of visitor arrivals in Taiwan rose sharply in the first eight months of the year and could exceed 7 million for the first time in the country's history, the Tourism Bureau said Saturday.
A total of 4.77 million overseas visitors arrived in Taiwan from January to August, up 24.76 percent from the same period last year, and visitor arrivals have posted double-digit annual growth every month so far in 2012, the bureau said.
The surge was led by visitors from mainland China, whose numbers grew 54.41 percent from a year earlier.
Strong growth was also seen in visitor arrivals from Hong Kong and Macau (28.9 percent) and from Japan (18.35 percent), according to the bureau.
Visitors from Japan and China have been the mainstays of inbound tourism in recent years, but the bureau said the government now intends to broaden the market by attracting more visitors from other Asian countries, including India, Indonesia and Thailand.
Taiwan had 6.09 million foreign visitor arrivals in 2011, of which 3.6 million came to Taiwan for pleasure.
(By Lin Shen-hsu and Nell Shen)