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Taiwan welcomes record 2 million Japanese tourists in 2019

Number of Japanese tourists visiting Taiwan breaks 2 million mark for first time

Japanese students touring Taipei. 

Japanese students touring Taipei.  (Taiwan News photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan saw a record high of 11.84 million individuals visiting Taiwan in 2019, including a record number of visitors from Japan.

According to statistics released by the Tourism Bureau on Monday (Jan. 6), visitors from Japan surged past the 2 million mark for the first time. Over the same period, the average growth rate for the 18 countries targeted by the New Southbound Policy reached 6 percent.

The Tourism Bureau said that the 11.84 million visitors last year were 770,000 more than the 11.07 million seen in 2018, an overall growth rate of 7 percent. There were a total of 9.14 million non-Chinese tourists who visited the country last year, an increase of 9 percent over the 8.37 million who visited in 2018.

On Dec. 9, 2019, the number of visitors from Japan exceeded 2 million, with arrivals from Japan and South Korea increasing by 10 percent and 20 percent, respectively. The number of Japanese tourists traveling to Taiwan has been surging in recent years, with Japanese now the second-largest group of visitors to Taiwan after Chinese, partly because of history but also because of the creature comforts that make Japanese visitors feel at home.

The Tourism Bureau has attributed the country’s stellar performance in attracting visitors to two approaches: ramped up international marketing campaigns and cross-sector collaboration. Last year, Taiwan rolled out such incentives as charter flight subsidies, resulting in 38 flights from Japan and South Korea to Hualien in the fourth quarter alone.

In addition, although the Communist Chinese government announced last year that it would prohibit individual Chinese tourists from traveling freely to Taiwan as of Aug. 1, 2019, the number of Chinese visitors still rose to 2.71 million. This actually represented a slight increase of 0.5 percent from the 2.7 million seen in 2018.

The Tourism Bureau stressed that in response to the rapid changes in the international market, it is adhering to its core promotion concept of "diversified global development" and is striving for a more diversified and higher quality international tourist market.