While Taiwan continues to lose tourists from mainland China as well as Hong Kong and Macau, the government’s New Southbound Policy has increased inbound travel from other neighboring nations. According to Tourism Bureau statistics, the number of arrivals from Vietnam surged 134.07% year-on-year in March.
Tourist arrivals from mainland China fell 44.6% from a year earlier, but those from Thailand increased 96.87% in the same period. The number of visitors from South Korea also increased 54.04%, while those from Malaysia rose 15.26% from March 2015.
The total number of visitors from Vietnam, however, is still relatively insignificant with only 33,793 arrivals in March. Meanwhile, the number of tourists from mainland China in March totaled 201,599. Hong Kong and Macau made up the third-largest group of tourists in the month with 124,044 arrivals in March, down 24.77% year-on-year.
South Korea accounted for 86,945 in the month, while Taiwan hosted 197,824 visitors from Japan, down 0.46% year-on-year. Thai visitors accounted for 31,346 arrivals in the month, and Malaysia accounted for 54,734.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced earlier this month that it would further easy visa rules for citizens of certain countries starting June 1. It would extend the visa exemption trial program for Thailand and Brunei to July 31, 2018, and introduce a visa waiver trial program for citizens of the Philippines for one year. It will also make obtaining visas for citizens of other Southeast Asian nations easier.
In the first two months of the year, visitors from Thailand increased 56.71% year-on-year due to the visa exemption trial program.