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New Southbound Policy, visa measures boost tourism

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The government's New Southbound Policy to expand relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), South Asia, Australia and New Zealand has effectively boosted tourism numbers, as visitors from those countries continue to show strong growth.

For the month of November, the number of visitors from the 18 countries targeted by the New Southbound Policy increased 23 percent year-on-year to 195,419, of which 183,021 were from ASEAN countries, an increase of 23.9 percent. These increases are a welcome trend amid the 5.1 percent decline in the overall total number of visitors.

According to the Tourism Bureau, all the targeted countries, with the exception of Nepal, showed year-on-year growth in the number tourists travelling to Taiwan in November. Cambodia reported the fastest growth at 288.6 percent, followed by Bangladesh at 102.7 percent, Thailand at 98.8 percent and Vietnam at 93.2 percent.

For the first 11 months of the year, Cambodia registered the highest year-on-year growth rate of visitors to Taiwan at 85.4 percent (3,111 visitors), followed by Thailand at 52.1 percent (164,021), Brunei with 51.2 percent (3,795) and India with 38.2 percent (30,986).

Overall, visitors from all countries to Taiwan rose 2.5 percent year-on-year to 9,653,181, with visitors from the 18 countries targeted by the New Southbound Policy rising 13.6 percent (1,530,037) and the 10 ASEAN nations growing 14.2 percent (1,410,027). As a percentage of visitors from all countries, ASEAN accounted for 14.6 percent during the first 11 months of the year, better than the 13.1 percent reported for the same period the previous year.

The marked increase in ASEAN and South Asian visitors to Taiwan can be attributed to the convenient visa facilitation measures that have been implemented as part of the New Southbound Policy.

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