Taipei-- The number of tourists from 18 countries covered under the government's "New Southbound Policy" who visited Taiwan in January registered a 42.8 percent growth to 68,000 from the same month of last year, the Executive Yuan's Trade and Economic Negotiations Office said Wednesday.
The number represents a record high for the same month over the past four years, according to the office.
Among those countries, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines emerged as the five largest sources of visitors to Taiwan, it said.
The number of travelers from Thailand in the month posted a whopping 170 percent growth to breach the 10,000 mark, due mainly to the launch in August 2016 of a three-month trial visa-exemption program for Thai ordinary passport holders, the office said.
Meanwhile, the number of tourists from Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Myanmar and Laos all posted more-than 50 percent growth, thanks to a more convenient visa policy introduced by the government for tourists from Southeast Asia, it added.
Since the government last year launched its "New Southbound Policy," which calls for the development of comprehensive relations with countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, South Asia, Australia and New Zealand, while promoting regional exchanges and collaborations, Taiwan saw a 25.83 percent year-on-year growth in the number of tourists from countries covered under the policy between August 2016 and January 2017, a record high for the same period over the past five years.
Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines made the biggest contributions to the growth, although the number of tourists from Cambodia and Myanmar also saw growth.
The office said that the government will in the next three years offer visa exemptions to tourists from more countries covered under the policy, including Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, to boost the number of visitors from Southeast and South Asia to Taiwan
Source: Overseas Community Affairs Council