Taipei, The number of foreign visitors to Taiwan in the month of April was just over 883,000, a decline of 4.72 percent from the previous year, according to data released Saturday by the Tourism Bureau.
Arrivals from Hong Kong/Macau and South Korea also fell, plunging 35.75 percent and 21 percent, respectively, the data showed.
However, visitor arrivals from Southeast Asia increased more than 14 percent in April, according to the bureau.
Foreign visitor arrivals totaled 883,072, which was 4.72 percent lower than in the same month of 2017, while those from Hong Kong and Macau were 122,583, the data showed.
Huang Cheng-tsung (???), an associate professor at Taichung-based Providence University's Department of Tourism, said the sharp year-on-year decline in the number of visitors from Hong Kong and Macau in the month of April was due to a high comparison base caused by a difference in the Easter holiday period in 2017 and 2018.
Meanwhile, the 21 percent drop in arrivals from South Korea to 66,555 in April was attributed to the deadly 6.0 earthquake that struck Hualien in February.
A tourism bureau official said Hualien is one of the most popular destinations in Taiwan for South Koreans, which is why arrivals plunged after the quake struck, killing 17 people there and toppling buildings.
Taiwan, however, saw a 6.33 percent increase in the number of visitor arrivals from China to 227,749 in April, the bureau's data showed.
Arrivals from Southeast Asian countries also rose, registering a 14.76 percent increase from a year earlier to 225,795, as the Taiwan government continued to push its "New Southbound Policy" that seeks to boost economic ties with 18 countries in the Southeast and South Asian regions, including the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as Australia and New Zealand.
Lien Yu-ching (???), an official at Taiwan's Travel Quality Assurance Association, said the government needs to urgently address the problem of tight water and electricity supply before the start of the peak tourism season in summer.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel