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Despite slow start, Taiwan still hoping for 10 million visitors in 2024

06/16/2024 09:24 PM
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Taiwanese officials pose for a group photo at the Tourism Administration's stalls during the annual "Yosakoi Soran" festival in Sapporo, Japan in early June. CNA photo June 9, 2024
Taiwanese officials pose for a group photo at the Tourism Administration's stalls during the annual "Yosakoi Soran" festival in Sapporo, Japan in early June. CNA photo June 9, 2024

Taipei, June 16 (CNA) Taiwan is still hoping to hit its target of 10 million international visitors in 2024 despite getting just over 2 million visitors in the first quarter of the year and 3.4 million as of June 10.

The Tourism Administration released more detailed data recently showing that Taiwan recorded 2.05 million international arrivals in the first three months of the year, with Japan, Hong Kong/Macau and South Korea the top three sources of inbound visitors.

In the three years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (2017-2019), first quarter arrivals accounted for roughly 24 percent of the year's visitors, meaning Taiwan has some catching up to do to achieve the target.

In a radio interview Friday, Transportation and Communications Minister Li Men-yen (李孟諺) said there were still opportunities to hit the 10 million visitor goal set by the Tourism Administration, but he acknowledged it will be challenging.

As of June 10, Taiwan had received 3.4 million international visitors, Li said, citing Tourism Administration data, but he was hoping that the fourth quarter, the usual peak season for inbound visitors, would be strong.

In 2023, a total of 6.49 million foreign nationals visited Taiwan as it continued to recover from the major travel slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taiwan originally set a target of 12 million arrivals for 2024, which included a significant number of visitors from China, but the target was readjusted as China continues to restrict its citizens from traveling to Taiwan, according to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

When China's borders reopened in 2023, 1.76 million Taiwanese visited China as independent visitors (not with tour groups), but only 220,000 Chinese people came to Taiwan for meetings or for medical purposes due to China's travel restrictions, according to Li.

Based on the Tourism Administration's data, 98,674 Chinese nationals visited Taiwan in the first quarter, far fewer than the 348,913 arrivals from Japan, 320,988 arrivals from Hong Kong and Macau, and 316,958 arrivals from South Korea.

The visitors from the top three sources more than doubled compared to the first quarter of 2023, according to the data.

Taiwan also received approximately 616,000 travelers from Southeast Asia in the first quarter, up 30 percent from a year earlier.

Before COVID-19, the number of inbound travelers to Taiwan peaked at 11.86 million in 2019.

(By Wang Shu-fen, Yu Hsiao-han and Evelyn Kao)

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