Taiwan tourism arrivals turn positive in April

Arrivals from Hong Kong rise by 72 percent year-on-year

The National Palace Museum in Taipei. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The number of tourists arriving in Taiwan grew by 1.81 percent in April, making it the first month of the year to see an increase vis-à-vis the same period last year.

The Tourism Bureau said Friday the overall rise was mostly the result of sharp leaps in the number of arrivals from Hong Kong, Macau, Southeast Asia and South Korea. The steep drop in arrivals from China continued, while a slight fall in the number of Japanese tourists also occurred during April.

A total of about 920,000 foreign tourists arrived in Taiwan during the month of April, a rise of 1.81 percent compared to April 2016, according to official data.

The sharpest year-on-year rise amounted to 72 percent and was recorded for visitors from Hong Kong and Macau, who now totaled 190,000, compared to 110,000 in April 2016, the Tourism Bureau said.

A rise of 45 percent occurred for travelers from Southeast Asia, who totaled 196,000 in April, though if split out according to country, Vietnam recorded a spectacular rise of 151 percent to more than 30,000 visitors, officials said.

The number of South Koreans rose by 34.44 percent from April last year to reach 84,000.

Mainly two major Asian countries went against the rising trend, with China confirming the sharp falls of the past year. About 214,000 Chinese citizens arrived in Taiwan this April, a drop of almost 43 percent compared to the 375,000 arrivals recorded for the same month last year.

The number of Japanese arrivals dropped by 2.13 percent to 126,000, a change blamed on the exchange rate of the yen, which has made overseas travel more expensive for the Japanese.

In the list of foreign arrivals for the first four months of this year, the Chinese still feature at the top with 873,000 travelers, followed by 602,000 Japanese, 533,000 arrivals from Hong Kong and Macau, and 378,000 South Koreans.

Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand all saw increases of more than 50 percent for arrivals of their citizens in Taiwan in January-April 2017 compared to the same period last year, according to government statistics.