Taiwan is a land of diverse and unique charm that has earned it a place among Asia's most popular tourist destinations. The world's largest traveler website, InterNations, ranked Taiwan as "the world's friendliest country" and "best place to live for expats." British travel authority Rough Guides has described Taiwan as a beautiful country long worthy of the world's attention and ranked Taiwan among the top - 10 must-visit tourist destinations in 2017. Taiwan has also steadily risen in the World Economic Forum's Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report to the current rank of 30th in the world. The report cited Taiwan's particular strengths in the subcategories of business environment, law and order, human resources and labor market, communications facilities, and international openness. Taiwan's tourism industry is now entering a key phase of adjustment and transition to face the changing pattern of tourism, the evolving composition of visitors to Taiwan, and the impact of regional tourism competition.
The Tourism Bureau launched the "Tourism 2020 – Taiwan Sustainable Tourism Development Plan" comprising five strategies to "expand and diversify markets, invigorate domestic travel, assist industry transformation, develop smart tourism, and expand experiential tourism," as well as 21 implementation plans to actively build Taiwan's tourism brand. Taiwan designated 2017 as "Ecotourism Year" in conjunction with the hosting of the International Firefly Symposium in Taipei. For "Bay Tourism Year" in 2018, Penghu will host the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World Congress and Carnival, turning a spotlight on the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of sustainable development.
The Tourism Bureau also adjusted course under a new strategy to expand and diversify Taiwan's tourism market. In coordination with other agencies, it promoted the Project for Simplifying Visa Regulations for High-end Group Tourists to reduce travel barriers. Incentives for corporate travel, expanded travel fair promotions, and efforts to create a Muslim-friendly travel environment also showed results. Visitor arrivals from the 18 countries under the New Southbound Policy topped two million in 2017, rising by 27.63% over 2016 to reach 2.28 million. Arrivals from the Northeast Asian market amounted to about three million helped by the addition of South Korea, one of the region's principal markets along with Japan, to regional promotion partnerships under the Asian Cruise Cooperation.
The Tourism Bureau also advanced measures to invigorate local travel and expand domestic tourism. It promoted a new National Travel Card system, revised and upgraded the Taiwan Pass, expanded the Taiwan Tour Bus system, and expanded and upgraded the Taiwan Lantern Festival, Summer Formosa—Summer Solstice 235 and Tropic of Cancer in Taiwan, Taiwan Cycling Festival, and Taiwan Hot Spring Festival activities. It integrated local tourism resources, promoted diversification of the tourism industry, enhanced locally distinctive tours and products, supported the development of tourism industry talent, and helped young people to return to their hometowns for employment. It also promoted ecotourism under the principle of "the more local, the more international" to broaden awareness of the beauty of Taiwan.
Facing a future in which the tourism market will become more global, digital, and local, the Tourism Bureau will continue to promote the "Tourism 2020—Taiwan Sustainable Tourism Development Plan." The core objectives of the plan are to build an innovative, sustainable, localized, and happy tourism industry, diversify and create added value in the industry, and provide a safe environment to fulfill tourism social responsibility and build Taiwan's tourism brand as an important "friendly, smart, and experiential" tourist destination in Asia. In 2017, Taiwan received 10.74 million visitors, with significant growth in arrivals from Northeast and Southeast Asia. In addition, Taiwan's tourism market has become more structurally balanced, as well as more diverse and sustainable. Under a vision of "smart travel and touching experiences," the Tourism Bureau is creating a sustainable, localized, and happy tourism industry that generates diverse added value, supports the local economy, and enables visitors to experience the unique energy of Taiwan.
Compiled here for you are the achievements of the tourism administration in 2017. We welcome your comments and suggestions.