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Taiwan lowers tourism goal as cross-strait travel stumbles

03/30/2024 03:50 PM
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Arrival passengers wait at the baggage claim area in Taoyuan Airport in this CNA file photo
Arrival passengers wait at the baggage claim area in Taoyuan Airport in this CNA file photo

Taipei, March 30 (CNA) Taiwan's foreign visitor arrivals this year are anticipated to miss the mark by about 2 million amid setbacks in cross-strait travel, Tourism Administration Director-General Chou Yung-hui (周永暉) said Saturday.

If China maintains its ban on group tourist visits to Taiwan, the tourism target could be revised down to 10 million, with a return to pre-COVID-19 levels of 12 million not anticipated until 2025, Chou told reporters.

Taiwan has called on China to show "goodwill" regarding tourism and political issues, indicating that such gestures may lead to the lifting of its own ban on tour groups destined for China starting in June.

Last month, the Taiwanese government reversed its decision to lift the three-year ban on China-bound group tourists, citing hostilities from Beijing and the absence of Chinese group tourists visiting Taiwan.

According to the latest statistics from the administration, the number of visitors to Taiwan this year has reached nearly 1.9 million as of March 15, representing a recovery of approximately 85 percent compared to the same period before the pandemic in 2019.

Currently, the top destinations with the highest number of visitors to Taiwan are Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Macau.

Meanwhile, Chou said the existing Taiwan Pass, originally exclusive to foreign visitors, will be extended to local tourists as well, aiming to stimulate the overall tourism market.

The NT$2,500 (US$80) pass, which allows three days of unlimited travel across the country's high-speed rail network and selected metro and tour bus systems, will incorporate cruise liner services, he said.

While the price of the pass has not been finalized, it will be launched on June 1, according to Chou.

(By Yu Hsiao-han and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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