TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - A record number of visitors from Southeast Asia, and in particular from the 18 New Southbound Policy countries, visited Taiwan in 2018, approaching the number of tourists from China, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said Wednesday (April 17).
The government has identified 18 countries, including most of Southeast Asia, South Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand, as targets for more economic, cultural, educational and tourism exchanges.
In 2018, the NIA recorded a total of 2.42 million visits by citizens of Southeast Asia, for a total share of 21.89 percent, or in numbers a rise of 13.8 percent from 2017, the Central News Agency reported.
Split up by country, China was still the prime source for visitors in 2018, totaling 2.66 million, followed by 1.96 million Japanese, 1.53 million from Hong Kong and Macau, 1.01 million South Koreans and 550,000 from the United States.
The five countries which showed the strongest rise in travelers to Taiwan were the Philippines, Vietnam, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia, the NIA said.
The increase by 120,000 of Filipinos visiting the island would be related to the introduction of a visa-free 14-day stay at the end of 2017, according to the CNA report.
During last year, 30 new flight routes were introduced, most of them connecting Taiwan to Northeast and Southeast Asian airports.
In the other direction, Japan still remained Taiwanese travelers’ favorite destination, with a share of 28.99 percent or 16.64 million trips. China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Thailand rounded out the top-five of destinations for Taiwanese heading overseas, CNA reported. Thailand showed the strongest growth, with 18.46 percent.