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Taiwan announces plan to pay tourists to visit

Local tourists visit a hot spring at the Thermal Valley in Taipei
Photo by SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images

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    Taiwan announced new incentives last week in an attempt to bring in 10 million tourists by 2025 after visitor numbers plummeted to below 900,000 in 2022.

    Chen Chien-jen, Taiwan’s premier, revealed on Thursday that the government’s plan for this year is to bring in at least 6 million tourists. In order to achieve the goal, the country will be offering 5,000 New Taiwan dollars (approximately $163) to 500,000 tourists and 20,000 New Taiwan dollars (approximately $651) to 90,000 tour groups.

    According to Tourism Bureau Director-General Chang Shi-chung, the allowances will be distributed through a number of promotional events this year. 

    “International tourists who are given NT$5,000 will not receive it until they arrive,” Chang explained. “It will be stored in an electronic ticketing card, which can be used to pay for food, accommodation and other travel expenses during their time here.” 

    Domestic and overseas travel agencies will also be given incentives to boost tourism in Taiwan. 

    The country is looking to appeal to visitors from key markets such as Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Europe, America, Hong Kong and Macao through the program. 

    Collectively, 5.3 billion New Taiwan dollars (approximately $172.5 million) were approved to be allocated from last year’s tax surplus for the three-year plan.

    In addition to the monetary incentives given to tourists, the government will also be using the allocated money to assist with hotel employee salaries in response to the hotel industry’s staff shortage. 

    For each new employee hired, hoteliers will receive a 5,000 New Taiwan dollar bonus per month. 

    High-Quality of Travel Association chairman Ringo Lee revealed that there are far more people traveling overseas from Taiwan than there are inbound tourists. 

    “Compared with nearby countries, we are relatively late in reopening the borders for international tourists and have fewer means to conduct international tourism marketing,” he added.  

    Taiwan is not the first to make efforts to entice tourists. Earlier this month, Hong Kong introduced its “Hello Hong Kong” campaign, which incentivized travelers with free flights.

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