Taiwan’s tourism income deficit with Japan hit NT$100 billion in 2015

Taipei--Taiwan suffered about a tourism income deficit of NT$100 billion (US$3.29 billion) with Japan in 2015, statistics compiled by the Commerce Development Research Institute (CDRI) showed on Thursday.

The CDRI data showed that Taiwan's tourism income deficit for 2015 more than doubled from about NT$40 billion in 2014.

In a forum focusing on tourism exchanges between Taiwan and Japan held in Taipei, CDRI Chairman Hsu Tain-tsair (???) cited the data, saying that the deficit soared in 2015 because more Taiwanese visitors went to Japan, while the number of Japanese arrivals in Taiwan was relatively small.

Hsu said that while the focus has been on the impact of the fall in Chinese arrivals amid cooling cross strait ties, the massive tourism income deficit with Japan poses an additional economic threat to Taiwan.

According to the CDRI, one of the leading economic think tanks in Taiwan, the number of Taiwanese tourists visiting Japan rose sharply from 1.13 million in 2011 to 4.3 million in 2016, while the number of Japanese arrivals in Taiwan increased from 1.29 million in 2011 to 1.89 million in 2016, a much slower growth rate.

In 2016 alone, the number of Japanese visitors to Taiwan was almost 2.4 million fewer than the number of Taiwanese tourists going to Japan, indicating the gap is widening, according to the data. In addition to the relatively small number of arrivals from Japan compared with Taiwanese arrivals in Japan, the spending of Japanese tourists fell every year 2011-2015, which makes the tourism income deficit even more pronounced, Hsu said.

The CDRI data shows that the average consumption per Japanese visitor to Taiwan in 2011 was NT$83,138, fell to NT$69,371 in 2012, NT$60,918 in 2013, NT$56,633 in 2014 and NT$54,713 in 2015. Although average spending in 2016 recovered somewhat the CDRI did not provide any details.

Hsu said the government needs to come up with effective measures to improve the local tourism business by strengthening infrastructure nationwide such as the efforts to establish clear and precise English-language signs for street names, while pushing for smart tourism business using mobile services and taking advantage of Taiwan's strength in electronics. These measures are expected to upgrade Taiwan's tourism industry and attract more foreign arrivals, he said.

In terms of the fall in Chinese arrivals, government statistics show that the number fell to 3.51 million in 2016 from 4.18 million in 2015. After the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party took office in May last year, industry sources estimate the number could fall to 2.1 million in 2017.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel