The number of foreign arrivals in Taiwan is estimated to drop from 11.86 million last year to 1.35 million this year, an 89 percent drop, after countries around the world imposed travel restrictions to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tourism Bureau said in a report yesterday.
The report, which was presented at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee, showed that from January to August, 1.29 million foreign tourists visited Taiwan, down 83.84 percent from a year earlier.
For the full year, the bureau expects inbound tourism would drop to a 20-year low of 1.35 million.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
The pandemic also slashed the number of outbound travelers to about 2.22 million in the first eight months of the year, down 80.91 percent from the same period last year, the report showed.
On a brighter note, the number of domestic trips taken by citizens could top 210 million this year, a 10-year high, it said.
In other news, the Tourism Bureau said it is planning to form a travel bubble with Palau, with the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) scheduled to discuss the plan on Friday.
Based on the bureau’s plan, only tour groups would be allowed, with travelers required to present negative polymerase chain reaction tests for COVID-19 and medical insurance plans when they sign up for a tour.
Asked why the government chose Palau, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) told reporters that the Micronesian island is a familiar destination to Taiwanese, with direct flight services between the two countries.
“We want to use Palau as an example that a travel bubble could work, but whether and how the plan should be executed would be decided by the CECC,” he said.
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