Taipei, Jan. 6 (CNA) The number of overseas visits made to Taiwan by foreign nationals hit another record high in 2019, helped by double-digit growth in visitors from Japan and South Korea, the Tourism Bureau said Monday.
Foreign visitor arrivals total 11.84 million for the year, a 7 percent rise from the 11.07 million visits recorded in 2018, the statistics showed.
Despite China's move in August to block its nationals from visiting Taiwan, the number of Chinese visitors to Taiwan edged 0.5 percent higher in 2019 to 2.71 million because of strong visitor growth earlier in the year, the figures showed.
The number of Japanese visiting Taiwan exceeded 2 million for the first time ever, while visitors from the 18 New Southbound Policy countries (Southeast Asia and South Asia countries and Australia and New Zealand) also rose nearly 6 percent during the year.
The bureau said several marketing initiatives helped diversify the sources of overseas visitors and get more potential visitors interested in Taiwan, including subsidizing charter flights to Hualien County in eastern Taiwan.
More direct flights from South Korea and Japan to Taiwan were also added to give visitors from those countries more of an opportunity to explore Taiwan.
The 7 percent growth in visitors in 2019 was the highest since a 23.63 percent rise in 2014.
Taiwan's visitor arrivals have grown annually since 2004 and first reached the 10 million visitor milestone in 2015.
But growth in visitor numbers slowed in 2016, 2017 and 2018, ranging between 0.46 percent and 3.05 percent, as China placed restrictions on its nationals to visit Taiwan at different times during those three years.