Taiwan draws crowds at Philippines travel expo

Island aims at 500,000 visitors from the Philippines for 2019

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Taiwan at the Travel Tour Expo in Manila

Taiwan at the Travel Tour Expo in Manila (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - The Taiwan booths drew crowds Friday at the largest travel fair in the Philippines, the Travel Tour Expo in Manila.

The event, at the SMX Convention Center Manila in Pasay, hosts 400 stands, including those representing Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, Guam and Hong Kong, the Central News Agency reported.

The Taiwan area at the show is dominated by a model of Taipei 101 which changes colors and by the orange phrase “Taiwan, the Heart of Asia.”

Themes hoping to attract travelers to Taiwan were visits to small villages, Hakka textiles, tastings of red bean ice cream, and Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality experiences from the country’s high-tech industry.

A band performed popular music such as rock and jazz with traditional local instruments in a show of Taiwanese creativity, CNA reported.

The Philippines, close to Taiwan, is one of the key elements in the government’s New Southbound Policy. Last year, 419,000 Filipinos traveled to Taiwan thanks to a visa waiver, recording a rise of 44.13 percent from the previous year. Taiwanese officials in Manila said they were targeting half a million Filipino visitors for this year.

The Travel Tour Expo is open until Sunday February 10.