Like many countries, Taiwan is aggressively promoting tourism again despite the global economic recession.

Thailand is an interesting market for Taiwan because the number of Thai visitors is expected to grow by at least 10% this year.

The Taiwan Tourism Bureau forecasts the number of Thai tourists visiting Taiwan will be 107,483 this year, up from 97,712 last year. It also expects Thai arrivals to reach 250,000 in the next few years.

The bureau recently organised a familiarisation trip for 38 Thai travel agents and the media.

Cheng Ying-huei, the bureau’s deputy director for international affairs, said many countries have been shifting their focus to tourism.

It sees potential to increase the Thai tourist market and will introduce its tourism website in the Thai language early next year.

Ms Cheng said the bureau will continue to hold familiarisation trips, not only for Thailand but also Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Australia, with an aim to see a tourism recovery soon.

The bureau is implementing Project Vanguard for Excellence in tourism (2009-2014) and the Tourism Optimization through Quality/Quantity Upgrading portion of the Executive Yuan’s Economic Power-Up Plan with an aim of building tourism environment focusing on both quality and quantity.

Besides, it also uses “Time for Taiwan” as the core promotional slogan to attract international travellers.

Charoen Wangananont, adviser and former president of the Thai Travel Agents Association, said tourism boomed in Taiwan two decades ago but began to slip over the past 10 years when the island shifted its focus to industrial development.

Now that Taiwan is shifting back the emphasis to tourism, it has improved many tourist destinations and Thai travel agents see opportunities in selling tour packages to Taiwan again.

However, Mr Charoen said tour operators believe that the Taiwan government should step up its marketing campaign to attract more Thai travellers because South Korea and Japan are very popular destinations.

He said Taiwan must present its tourism products such as shopping destinations and temples to meet the lifestyle of Thais.

Thai operators wishing to sell tour packages to Taiwanese tourists should present interesting stories related to destinations to attract customers.

Mr Charoen projects that 20,000 to 30,000 packages to Taiwan will be sold this year. Prices start from 30,000 baht for five days and four nights.

(c)2013 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

Photo Credit: Built in 1738, the Longshan Temple features a roof with multiple eaves and exquisitely carved pillars and beams. Listed as a Class 2 historical site, it is the best preserved temple of its time in Taiwan.