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If Taiwan continues with its plan to allow visa-on-arrival for Indian travelers, it will join a growing list of countries that are easing visa requirements to attract the outbound market. Also in focus are money minting corporate events for Indian business travelers.

Taiwan has announced that it is “actively considering” extending visa-on-arrival for Indian travelers, deputy foreign minister Tien Chung-kwang said this week. 

Chung-kwang cited the outbound power of Indians which led the government to seriously consider easing the visa procedure. However, he said this would first need to be discussed with the immigration department. 

Indian travelers currently need to apply for a visa through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India and can take anywhere between 2-10 working days. 

The Big Challenge

Taiwan is looking at India as a key target market, especially the corporate incentive market, to reach its target of 10 million annual tourists, Trust Lin, deputy director-general of Taiwan Tourism Administration, told Taiwanese media on Wednesday. 

A recent report by consulting firm McKinsey and Company positioned India as a fast-growing source of outbound tourism. Indian travelers have a higher spending power. In 2023, they reached a new peak in overseas spending, shelling out $31.7 billion, of which 54% was on international travel: $17 billion.

However, the absence of direct flights between Taiwan and India is a major challenge, according to Lin. Direct flights between India and Taiwan were suspended during Covid, but have yet to be relaunched. This has led to a lack of convenient travel options between the two countries, he said. 

Taiwan’s India Mission

Last year, Taiwan representative to India Baushuan Ger told Indian media that the country is aiming to welcome more than 100,000 Indian tourists annually, even as its first focus is to reach pre-pandemic tourist arrival numbers in the Indian market.

In 2019, 40,000 Indian travelers had visited the country. Last year, the tourist arrivals from India to Taiwan stood at 32,000. The country anticipates full recovery of Indian tourist levels to pre-pandemic figures this year. 

In order to boost tourism from India, Taiwan Tourism Administration opened the Taiwan Tourism Information Centre in Mumbai earlier this year. This marked the country’s entry into India post the pandemic-induced break. 

The tourism administration’s Singapore office also appointed a representative to drive its growth plan for the India market. Its growth plans focus on the Indian Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) market, weddings, and leisure travelers. 

ResearchAndMarkets.com forecasts that India’s outbound MICE tourism market will reach $13.4 billion by 2031.

India is the ninth-largest market globally for business travel expenditure and the fourth-largest in the Asia Pacific region. According to managing director of FCM Travel India, Sunny Sodhi, 86% of business travelers in India consider travel necessary for meeting their business goals. 

Global Business Travel Association has projected that India’s business travel spending will reach $38 billion this year. A full recovery to pre-2019 spending levels is expected by 2025. In 2023, India’s business travel spending surged by almost 25% reaching 78% of pre-pandemic levels.

Taiwan Tourism Administration also unveiled a new initiative — Taiwan Specialist Program — in April with the aim of educating Indian travel trade professionals about Taiwan’s tourism offerings through an e-learning program.

Focus on Corporate Travel

Also in April, the authority held a multi-city roadshow in India, visiting Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru to engage with travel trade representatives. During its roadshow, Taiwan especially targeted the MICE segment. 

Travel for meetings, conferences, conventions and incentive trips has become the new normal, often outpacing traditional business travel, Joseph Cheng, director of the tourism administration’s Singapore office had said.

Cheng said that Taiwan is therefore keen to develop this sector. “India’s outbound travel market exceeds 27 million people, with over 41% traveling for leisure and recreation, and another 16% for business purposes. This constitutes the overall MICE share of Indian outbound travel.”

Incentive trips are making a comeback, according to FCM Meetings & Events India. The corporate travel firm noted a 30% jump in requests for them in the first quarter from a year earlier.

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Tags: destination markeing, destinations, india, india outbound, india travel, international tourism, international travel, outbound tourism, outbound travel, taiwan, tourism, visa, visa waiver, visas

Photo credit: Indian travelers currently need to apply for a visa through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center (TECC), Taiwan’s de facto embassy in India. Belle Co / Pexels

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