Taiwan targeting Thai tourists
Central News Agency
2014-08-13 10:45 PM
Bangkok, Aug. 13 (CNA) Tourism Bureau officials headed to Bangkok Wednesday with a delegation of travel operators to try to attract more visitors from Thailand. According to bureau statistics, the number of foreign visitors to Taiwan totaled 8.02 million last year. Of those 104,138 came from Thailand, an increase of 6.58 percent from the previous year. But Teng Yeu-shing, leader of the Taiwan tourism delegation, said that the number is much lower when arrivals of Thai migrant laborers are deducted, putting the number of travelers from the Southeast Asian country at around only 36,000. Compared with Japan, which attracted 480,000 Thai tourists last year, "there is a great room for growth," said Teng, who is the general manager of Kai Yang International Travel Co. He noted that Japan granted visa-free treatment to Thai citizens last year, leading to the whopping 300 percent increase in incoming travelers from the previous level of around 100,000. Taiwan has yet to give the same visa-free treatment to Thai passport holders, he noted, adding that a lack of streamlining in visa procedures hurts the willingness of Thai visitors to head to Taiwan. Suparerk Soorangura, president of Thai Travel Agents Association, expressed hopes that both countries can grant mutual visa-free status to facilitate bilateral travel. Even before that, he said, he hopes Taiwan will simplify visa procedures for Thai citizens to help boost tourism. (By Namita Lin and Lilian Wu)
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