Taiwan sees spike in tourist arrivals under New Southbound Policy
Taipei, Dec. 2 (CNA) A New Southbound Policy introduced by the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen has been showing results in the tourism sector, with visitor arrivals from the target countries increasing, the Cabinet's Office of Trade Negotiations said Friday.
In October, visitor arrivals from South and Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand grew 25.4 percent year-on-year to 166,931, the office said in a statement, citing Tourism Bureau statistics.
The robust growth in tourist arrivals from those areas, compared with an 8.75 percent decline in arrivals from all over the world, proves that the government's New Southbound Policy is reaping success in the tourism sector, the office said.
The number of visitors from those areas is expected to continue to increase, the office said, adding that the figures for the period from January to October showed a 47.1 percent year-on-year growth in tourist arrivals from Thailand, 24.3 percent in the number from Vietnam and 18.8 percent from the Philippines.
Meanwhile, 15 of the 18 target countries in the government's Southbound Policy also reported year-on-year growth in the number of travelers to Taiwan in October, according to the Tourism Bureau
Cambodia reported the highest increase of 87.8 percent, followed by Vietnam (73.7 percent), Thailand (73.3 percent), and Brunei (68.3 percent), the bureau said.
In its statement, the Office of Trade Negotiations said that since the New Southbound Policy was implemented in September, the government has taken several effective steps to boost tourism from the target countries, including granting conditional visa-free status to citizens of Thailand, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia and Liao.
According to Premier Lin Chuan, the "people-oriented" New Southbound Policy is aimed at cementing mutually beneficial, long-term, stable bilateral ties through people-to-people interaction and exchanges with countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand.
"This will create ties unlikely to be affected by political changes in the target countries, while also facilitating the signing of bilateral investment protection agreements to better safeguard the investments and economic activities of overseas Taiwanese businesses," Lin said in a meeting of the Cabinet's Committee on Global Economic and Trade Strategies in October.
With the New Southbound Policy, Taiwan has been seeking to make up for declining numbers of tourists from China and to become less dependent on the mainland in the overall bilateral relationship. The Beijing government sees Taiwan as part of China, to be reunited by force if necessary. (Courtesy of CNA)