Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Taiwan seeks to attract 150,000 Indonesian tourists this year after it finally scrapped its Covid-19 entry restrictions, according to a representative of its tourism bureau.
Taiwan had 230,000 Indonesian tourists visiting in pre-pandemic 2019. After more than two years, Taiwan lifted its border curbs on Oct. 13, 2022. Taiwan posted 78,162 Indonesian tourists in 2022, or about 135.57 percent higher than what the tourism bureau had targeted.
"Taiwan has just reopened its borders, so we are now aiming for at least 150,000 Indonesian tourists," Abe Chou, the director at the Taiwan Tourism Board's Kuala Lumpur Office, said in Jakarta on Monday.
Taiwan has set up incentives for travel agents that bring international tourists. The more people in the tour group that the travel agent brings, the larger the incentives.
For instance, Taiwan will hand out incentives of 20,000 New Taiwan Dollars ($667) for a tour group of 30-99 people who are staying for three days and two nights. They can also use these subsidies for cultural performance tickets. The incentives can go up to 150,000 New Taiwan Dollars for a group with 801 people or more.
There are extra incentives for tourist groups from Indonesia and other selected countries. Groups of 30-199 people vacationing for four days and three nights will get a subsidy of 400 New Taiwan Dollars per tourist for a welcoming dinner.
Taiwan is showering Indonesia with incentives as the Southeast Asian country is a great market for the former's travel industry, according to the Taipei Economic and Trade Office (TETO) in Jakarta.
"Indonesia has high-quality tourists, and so far, it has been smooth sailing with Indonesian tourists," TETO representative John Chen said.
Halal tourism becomes one of Taiwan's strategies to attract tourists from Indonesia, which is home to the world's largest Muslim population totaling 236.53 million people.
Taiwan data showed that it had 300 restaurants and hotels that are Halal-certified. Taiwan ranks second on the list of top non-Organization of Islamic Cooperation destinations for Muslims, according to the 2022 Global Muslim Travel Index. Taiwan reported that 30-40 percent of Indonesian tourists are Muslims.
Taiwan has set a goal to welcome 6 million foreign tourists this year. The government plans to increase the figures to 10 million international tourists in 2025. Taiwan last year attracted nearly 900,000 inbound visitors.