Taipei, Dec. 13 (CNA) The Tourism Bureau welcomed the 11.11 millionth inbound visitor to Taiwan on Friday to celebrate the new single-year high set for overseas visitor arrivals.
Speaking at a news conference to highlight the milestone, Transportation Minister Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said the record set Friday exceeded the previous high of 11.06 million overseas arrivals in 2018, and he expected the number to reach 11.7 million for 2019 as a whole.
Chung Yeon Jo, a young woman from South Korea who was the 11.11 millionth tourist to Taiwan, said this was her first trip to Taiwan and she intended to visit museums and enjoy the food here.
The number of visits to Taiwan has surpassed the 10 million mark for five consecutive years, according to the bureau, indicating that Taiwan has successfully offset 16 percent and 22 percent declines in visitors from China in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
But using visa incentives to attract more visitors from Southeast Asia as substitutes for big-spending Chinese visitors has still cost the industry revenue.
Spending by overseas visitors has fallen from US$14.61 billion in 2014 and US$14.39 billion in 2015 to US$13.37 billion in 2016, US$12.31 billion in 2017 and US$13.71 billion in 2018, according to Tourism Bureau figures.
The number should rebound further this year with 10 percent growth in visitor arrivals from both China and Japan through the first 10 months of the year, according to the latest published figures.