Taipei-Taiwan is planning to upgrade its Tourism Bureau and enter into discussions with tourism stakeholders with the goal of increasing its international visitor arrivals to 20 million by 2030, Transportation Minister Lin Chia-lung (???) said Thursday.
"If we want to make the tourism sector a major driver of our economy, we'll need to introduce proper policies, resources and organizational structures," Lin said.
Currently, the tourism sector accounts for about 4 percent of Taiwan's gross domestic product, far lower than in many developed countries, he said.
Noting that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) put forth proposals earlier this week to increase the number of international tourists to Taiwan this year, Lin said there must be long-term plans to grow the market.
One of the long-term plans is to upgrade the Tourism Bureau to an agency, which will remain under the MOTC, and to give it more staff and funds to carry out promotional campaigns overseas, Lin said.
The minister said he will also hold a major tourism conference by the end of the year to solicit the opinions of various tourism service providers on sustainable development of the sector.
Moreover, a white paper will be produced by the end of 2019, detailing concrete measures to boost the industry over the next decade, with the aim of achieving the goal of 20 million international visitor arrivals per year by 2030, Lin said.
Taiwan recorded 11.06 million foreign visitor arrivals in 2018 and is optimistic about reaching 11.2 million this year, on the basis of the MOTC's recent proposals, despite China's ban on individual visits to Taiwan by its nationals from 47 municipalities, the ministry said.
The MOTC's NT$1.2 billion (US$38 million) plan, announced on Aug. 27, includes a proposal to streamline the visa application process for international visitors to Taiwan, to regularly review the existing visa-free trial program for the Philippines, Thailand and Russia, and to extend visa-free privileges to holders of Indonesian e-passports.
In addition, international visitors will be offered vouchers for Taiwan High Speed Rail, which will be valid until April 30 next year, in an effort to encourage travel to central and southern Taiwan, the ministry said.
Under the plan, the MOTC said, it will increase its subsidies to international carriers that operate charter flights to Taiwan and encourage airlines to fly to more destinations within the country.
As part of those subsidies, the ministry will halve the ground service fee at the airports for airlines that operate charter flights to Hualien and Taitung counties in eastern Taiwan, with effect from October, Lin said Thursday.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel