Focus Taiwan App
Download

Taiwan plans incentives to close tourism deficit with Japan

02/13/2024 02:36 PM
To activate the text-to-speech service, please first agree to the privacy policy below.
Travelers visit New Taipei's famous Jiufen Old Street tourist area. File photo courtesy of New Taipei City Government
Travelers visit New Taipei's famous Jiufen Old Street tourist area. File photo courtesy of New Taipei City Government

Taipei, Feb. 13 (CNA) Taiwan is planning to provide incentives to attract 2 million inbound tourists from Japan this year, amid a wide tourism deficit with that country due to a sharp drop in visitor arrivals since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tourism Administration has set a goal of 12 million international tourist arrivals in Taiwan this year, on par with pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, according to Chou Yung-hui (周永暉), head of the administration.

As part of its plans to achieve that target, the agency is aiming to attract more tourists from Japan and China, he said.

In 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 11.86 million international tourists visited Taiwan, with 2.71 million coming from China, 2.16 million from Japan, 1.59 million from Hong Kong and 1.24 million from South Korea, according to tourism administration statistics.

Last year, Taiwan recorded 6.4 million international visitor arrivals, mainly from Hong Kong, Macau, Japan and South Korea, the data showed. Japan accounted for only about 940,000, a sharp drop from the annual average of 2.1 million prior to the pandemic, according to the statistics.

In the first 11 months of last year, however, 3.93 million Taiwanese tourists visited Japan, accounting for about 35 percent of the 10.74 million Taiwanese who traveled abroad, the data indicated.

That represented a large tourism deficit between Taiwan and Japan, despite the fact that Taiwan in October 2022 lifted its entry restrictions that had been imposed during the COIVD-19 pandemic.

In a bid to boost visitor arrivals from Japan to pre-COVID levels, the tourism agency plans to work with Taiwanese airlines to offer a discount of 5,000 Japanese yen (NT$1,060 or US$33.79) on airfares for Japanese travelers to Taiwan who need to apply for a first-time passport or renew their old one for the trip, according to Chou.

Tourism Administration Director-General Chou Yung-hui (center) talks about travel incentive plans in this recent photo. CNA photo Jan. 16
Tourism Administration Director-General Chou Yung-hui (center) talks about travel incentive plans in this recent photo. CNA photo Jan. 16

The participating carriers are China Airlines, EVA Airways, StarLux Airlines, and also Tigerair Taiwan, which is planning to offer an additional discount of 5,000 Japanese yen, Chou added.

The airfare discount, which will be rolled out in the second quarter, is meant to provide an incentive to visitors from Japan, which is usually a major source of tourism to Taiwan, he said.

Even though Taiwan lifted most of its COVID pandemic restrictions in October 2022, the recovery of visitor arrivals from Japan has been slow, and the number of Japanese who hold passports remains low, Chou said.

Before the pandemic, only 23 percent of Japanese nationals had passports, and that has now dropped to 18 percent because many people's passports have expired and have not been renewed, he said.

In terms of other initiatives to boost inbound travel, Chou said, the agency will establish tourism offices in Jakarta, Mumbai and Paris in the first half of this year to attract more visitors from Southeast Asia, South Asia and Europe.

The agency is also aiming to establish a footprint in Canada and launch promotional programs to attract more international tourists, with a plan that includes doubling the number of Muslim travelers as well as tourist arrivals from California, he said.

(By Yu Hsiao-han and Evelyn Kao)

Enditem/AW/pc

    0:00
    /
    0:00
    We value your privacy.
    Focus Taiwan (CNA) uses tracking technologies to provide better reading experiences, but it also respects readers' privacy. Click here to find out more about Focus Taiwan's privacy policy. When you close this window, it means you agree with this policy.
    172.30.142.201