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Tourists visit Jiufen in New Taipei City. (Taiwan Tourism Bureau photo)
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Tourism Bureau is eyeing tourists from Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asia as the first to visit the country when the country opens its borders in late September or early October.
In an interview with Mirror Media, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head Victor Wang (王必勝) estimated that this wave of infections will peak and start to decline at some point between late September and early October. Wang said the CECC predicted that late September is when border controls can be eased, or early October at the latest.
During a press conference on Friday (Aug. 26), Tourism Bureau Deputy Director-General Lin Hsin-jen (林信任) said that guidelines for the entry of foreign tourists have been submitted to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), but it is still reviewing the details, reported Rti. Lin said the tourism industry is gearing up and waiting for the green light, and once the schedule is announced the country can start to welcome tourists.
According to Lin, the plan is to first allow incoming tour groups before later permitting outbound group tours. Lin said there are two main considerations when it comes to opening up the country for tourism.
One is medical capacity, and the other is that travel agencies need time to prepare before the borders open. Lin explained that in response to changes due to the pandemic, tour travel routes will need to be adjusted.
Lin said that, for example, some restaurants and scenic spots are closed due to the pandemic, and it will take time for them to prepare to reopen. Lin pointed out that since international marketing requires a preparation period of at least one to two months, he also hopes the CECC can give tour companies some time to prepare.
He said the Tourism Bureau is first looking at opening up to inbound group tours, while fully independent travelers (FITs) require visas, which will depend on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' plan. In addition, Lin said that Japan is the main target for inbound tourists because Japan used to send more than 2 million people to Taiwan every year and their level of consumption was relatively high.
Lin described Japanese tourists as the main target market, while tourists from South Korea and Southeast Asia will also be targets early on. As for European and North American tourists, Lin believes that "after the pandemic ends," tourists from these markets will also look to travel abroad at greater distances, which will be beneficial to Taiwan.
The Tourism Bureau official asserted that Taiwan's advantage is its ability to offer European and North American tourists the ability to explore new cultures. As for international marketing, Lin explained that during the pandemic, "maintenance" has been the main focus, but once the pandemic ends, marketing will get back into full gear.
Lin said that upcoming international tourism promotion events include the Taiwan-Japan Tourism Summit and the Taiwan-Vietnam Tourism Summit. In addition, he predicted that there will be many travel agencies and media looking for opportunities as Taiwan opens up to inbound tourism.
However, Lin cautioned that the influx of overseas tourists will be a gradual process. Using the inbound Japanese tour groups as an example, Lin said that after the borders are opened, the number of tourists will gradually increase.
Updated : 2022-09-09 22:32 GMT+08:00
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