Taipei – “Fan” tours designed for overseas followers of Taiwanese pop stars have worked their way to becoming a strong tourist draw, increasing the number of visitors to Taiwan from Japan and Korea despite the economic slowdown, a government agency has reported.
The tourism industry worldwide has been battered by last year’s soaring oil prices and the global sluggish economy, but Taiwan still managed to receive over 1.08 million visitors from Japan over the past year, according to the Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.
The figure was a drop of 6.83 percent from the year-earlier level, and the bureau described attracting 1.08 million as “not an easy task” as the overall number of Japanese outbound travelers saw a decline of 7.6 percent compared to the previous year.
Meanwhile, the number of Korean visitors to Taiwan totaled approximately 253,000, an increase of 11.71 percent year-on-year in spite of the buffeting that country’s economy took, while a significant depreciation of its currency put many Koreans off traveling abroad, the bureau said.
The bureau attributed these relatively optimistic developments to the success of tours targeting foreign fans attracted to Taiwanese singers and actors, as part of the bureau’s 2008-2009 “Taiwan Touch Your Heart” campaign to attract tourists.
For instance, around 3,500 fans from seven Asian countries who gathered in Taipei earlier in the day to see the Taiwanese pop group Fahrenheit were expected to bring in NT$100 million (US$2.93 million) of business during their stays here, the bureau said.
The group has been chosen as Taiwan’s “tourism ambassador” for Korea and Japan this year, the bureau added.