Though international visitor arrivals in Taiwan soared from 3.85 million in 2008 to over 7.31 million in 2012, visitor numbers have fallen 9 percent in the first four months of 2013 from the same period in 2012. The decline may be seen as a warning that the program allowing Chinese tourists to travel in Taiwan on their own rather than as part of tour groups has fallen short of expectations.
The stagnant global economy may also be partly to blame, but the tourism sector is highly competitive, and if Taiwan does not innovate, visitor numbers will stop growing. Harnessing the potential of tourists from China while attracting more visitors from other countries should be at the core of Taiwan’s tourism policy.
Though Taiwan has popular attractions such as Sun Moon Lake and Alishan, it needs to launch higher quality and more creative tour options to compete with China and other countries. In recent years, Taiwan’s inns and B&Bs have earned widespread acclaim and attracted a large number of visitors from around Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Macau.
Many of these visitors have even opted to hold their weddings at these intimate hangouts.
The independent traveler program with China expanded in June, allowing tourists from 26 cities in China (from the original 13) to travel to Taiwan on their own, and local B&B owners need to focus on attracting this expanding segment of the Chinese travel market to help their businesses grow. By offering visitors eco-tourism and giving them the chance to experience Taiwan’s farm culture, the B&B owners will be able to build a competitive business model that proves irresistible to people outside Taiwan.
The Haney Group, Economic Daily News