Taiwan’s Inbound/Outbound Tourism Market

The Top 5 Areas of Inbound Visitors in Taiwan in 2018


Taiwan saw a record 11 million tourists last year. Travelers from the 18 South bound countries for approximately 25%. The Tourism Bureau stated that market expansion strategies seem to have yielded significant results. But, rather than the statistics, what the tourism industry should focus on is how to cooperate with other tourist destination countries and advertise our tourism.

Nation 2018 2017 2018 vs. 2017
Mainland China 2,695,615 (24%) 2,732,549 -1.35%
Southeast Asia 2,394,223 2,109,874 +13.48%
Japan 1,969,151 1,898,854 +3.7%
Hong Kong & Macau 1,653,654 1,692,063 -2.27%
Korea 1,019,441 1,054,708 -3.34


Source & Reference:
特別企劃/2018入境市場分析—人次再創新高之後 台灣觀光的質化思維
特別企劃/2018台灣出境1,664萬人次創新高 台幣升值、低成本航空興起 成長力道強勁

In Mainland China, independent tours have become a trend. As 2019 is designated as Taiwan’s “Small Town Roaming Year” and with the Tourism Bureau’s continuous cooperation with Jiangsu, Taiwan’s tourism industry is hoping to attract more visitors from mainland China.

Thanks to the extended visa-free entry offered by the New Southbound Policy, the number of visitors from the cooperation countries such as the Philippines and Thailand has been largely increasing. The number of visitors from the businesses applying for incentive travel also increased by 40%. Besides providing conference or incentive travel, the government is also building up a Muslim-friendly travel environment. According to Global Muslim Travel Index 2018, Taiwan ranked 5th-best non-OIC destination for Muslim travelers.

The number of visitors from Japan was increasing in 2018, while Taiwan’s tourism deficit with Japan also kept going up. Promotion of tourism, cultural or food exchanges being more locally focused, diversified could be the solution. With 2019 designated as “Small Town Roaming Year,” coming with a series of new attractions such as the decorated train carriage “Meet Taiwan!” and Taiwan Lantern Festival in the South and other offers, it’s hoped that more and more visitors will choose Taiwan as their travel destination.

The number of inbound visitors from Hong Kong and Macau slightly decreased by 2.7%. In April, the number decreased by 35.75% over the same period last year, which might result from the 2018 Hualien earthquake or the Easter holidays in Hong Kong. Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are geographically close and share the same language, making it easier to travel between these places. An abundance of natural resources, delicious and cheap foods, friendly people, etc. are also among the reasons that tourists are coming to Taiwan.

Due to the impact of the 2018 Hualien earthquake, the number of tourists from Korea dropped drastically and did not rise until the last half of the year. But the overall number remained constant compared to last year, slightly over 1 million. Driven by the newly added flight routes in 2018, Taiwan has become the third-largest source of tourists to South Korea. In addition, Taiwan and Korea co-launched the “Taiwan-South Korea Automatic Immigration Clearance Program” and signed a MOU at the end of June last year, allowing passengers to travel more conveniently between the two countries and leading to a further exchange and blending of culture, language, diet and so on. Taipei and Hualien are currently the most popular destinations, while how to boost the tourism in the South, to attract new visitors and to encourage revisits remain a challenge.

As to the outbound tourism, in 2018 the number of Taiwan citizens making trips abroad kept growing, up 6.32% from the year before.

Appreciation of Taiwan dollar, the rise of LCC and the influence of multi-day holidays could play a role in affecting Taiwan nationals’ traveling behaviors for the last year. New flight routes such as the direct flights between Taipei and Auckland launched by Air New Zealand, those between Taipei and Paris by Air France, and those to the Japanese cities, plus home ports and increasing cruises operated by International Cruise are also making overseas travel trendy.

According to the findings of the Tourism Bureau, the ratio of outbound travelers to total population have increased from 20.6% in 2012 to 32.5% in 2017. Over the past 5 to 6 years, total number of outbound travelers also went up from around 11 million to 16 million, with an average annual growth of 1 million. And the proportion of independent tours accounts for 70% of the total trips and group tours 30%.

Asia was the main destination, accounting for around 90% of all trips. Japan received the highest proportion of Taiwan citizens’ overseas trips (with a total of 482 million tourists), followed by China (471 million) and Hong Kong (169 million). Among the top ten Taiwanese tourists’ destinations, the number of people visiting Thailand increased 22.63%, Korea 22.28% and Vietnam 16.87%.