TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Kenting in Southern Taiwan, better known for its white sandy beaches and azure sea among foreigners but also for its insanely high-priced smoked assorted stew and expensive hotel/hostel rooms among local travelers, was ranked the No. 1 most loved attraction among international travelers in a recent government survey.
7,320 international travelers participated in the survey between Jan. 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2017.
In a survey by Taiwan's Tourism Bureau, Kenting jumped to No. 1 among the top 10 most popular attractions for foreign travelers, followed by Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County (2), Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien (3), Jiufen in Keelung (4), Ali Mountain in Chiayi (5), Yehliu in New Taipei City (6), Pingxi in New Taipei City (7), Tamsui in New Taipei City (8), the National Palace Museum in Taipei City (9), and the Ximending Youth Shopping District in Taipei City (10).
However, the most popular tourist attractions do not translate into equivalent number of visitors. Among the top 10 most popular places, the decommissioned gold mining hill town Jiufen, a popular destination for Japanese and Korean tourists, is the No. 1 most visited attraction in the country, followed by the National Palace Museum and Ximending. Jiufen is a one-hour drive from downtown Taipei, and the other two are in downtown Taipei. Kenting and Alishan were the least visited among the top 10 most loved attractions probably because of their remote locations.
In Taipei City, night markets (80%) and Taipei 101 (53%) were the most visited places among international travelers.
Shopping, enjoying delicacies at night markets, visiting historical remains or buildings were the top three most popular activities among the respondents.
Other popular activities enjoyed by foreign travelers included taking a hot spring bath, having foot massage, going for karaoke, or a pre-wedding photo shooting.
The survey indicated that up to 10.74 million international travelers visited Taiwan in 2017 alone, of which the number of Chinese travelers declined, but the rest saw an obvious growth, especially from Vietnam, the Philippines, and Thailand.
It attributed the growth to the visa-free entry programs to these countries and increasing tourism promotions in Southeast Asian countries. The tourists from Southeast Asian countries are said to have a stronger spending power than their Japanese counterparts.