Tourism market in the Asia Pacific region has been highly competitive. Unlike other regions such as the North America and Europe, countries in Asia Pacific have a variety of different cultures, landscapes, and development stages. In this competitive environment, Taiwan was ranked fourth in tourism competitiveness and thirtieth in the world according to a survey by the World Economic Forum.After 2000, as manufacturing sector was continuing outsourced to other countries, the government turned the policy focus from industrial economy to tourism industry as the main source of economic growth. The progress was tremendous. In 2012, visitor arrival number grew 20.1 percent to a record high $7 million, compared to average growth of 6.8 percent and 3.8 percent for Asia Pacific and the world, respectively. In 2013, the contribution to GDP from the tourism sector was $25.8 million, or 5.3 percent.
Strategy of Taiwan tourism industry
One of the advantages of Taiwan that can be applied in developing tourism industry is that it has a strong cultural base and a great variety of landscapes. On one hand, there are tribes of different ethnic groups, including Hakkas, Hokkienese, and Taiwan indigenous people. On the other, mountains, plains, valleys, and rivers are all included in this territory. Tourists can have a lot of different experiences and there is always something right for their tastes.
A turning point in the tourism of Taiwan-the thaw with mainland China
Only in July 2008, Taiwan began allowing visitors from mainland China for the first time in six decades. Even though it was still strictly controlled, it totally changed the tourism industry in Taiwan. According to Xinhuanet, Taiwan generated $3.2 billion in revenue from visiting Chinese tour group between July 2008 and March 2011. The number of Chinese tourist also increased from 60,000 in 2008 to 4 million in 2014, a dramatic 6500 percent increase. They also come with a high purchasing desire. In 2010, spending by Chinese tour group accounted for 0.72 percent of Taiwan’s GDP. What followed by this crowd is the revitalization of investment in industries of the tourism chain, such as hotel and retailing.
As the most rapidly developing area, the Asia Pacific region will increasingly be the interest to the world, especially to some distant places such as the North America and Europe. Intra-region travel will also be more frequent. Among these future developments, that of China is undoubtly the most important one. Measures taken to attract the potential stream of tourist from mainland China and also smooth the process are decisive to Taiwan’s tourism market.