Taipei (Taiwan News) -- According to statistics released by the Tourism Bureau, the number of visitors to Taiwan reached a record high of 10.69 million in 2016, an increase of 2.4 percent over the previous year and much of this can be attributed to the easing of visa restrictions for Southeast Asian countries, with visitors from Thailand alone increasing by 57 percent.
The bureau noted that the number of visitors from China was 3.51 million, accounting for 32.9 percent of the total, but that figure represented a 16.1 percent drop from the previous year.
Meanwhile, the number of visitors from other regions increased by 14.8 percent to 7.18 million, of which 1.9 million were Japanese, representing 17.7 percent of total visitors, an increase of 16.5 percent from last year; while 880,000 came from South Korea, accounting for 8.3 percent of the total, a 34.3 percent increase over the previous year.
Visitors from Thailand increased by 57.3 percent, while travelers from Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia increased by 34.3 percent, 23.9 percent, 10 percent and 6.2 percent respectively.
The bureau said a major factor explaining the uptick in visitors from Southeast Asian countries was the relaxing of visa restrictions for countries such as Indonesia, India, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Thailand that began in November of 2015.