Taiwan will seek to attract more tourists from Indonesia by forging partnerships with Indonesian travel industries and launching various initiatives, as it seeks to become a top destination in Asia, a tourism official said on Monday (16/10). (JG Photo/Sheany)

Taiwan to Ease Visa Regulations for Indonesians to Boost Tourism Sector

BY : SHEANY

OCTOBER 17, 2017

Jakarta. Taiwan will seek to attract more tourists from Indonesia by forging partnerships with Indonesian travel industries and launching various initiatives, as the country seeks to become a top destination in Asia, a tourism official said on Monday (16/10).

"We will put more budget and resources on the Indonesian market [...] Through diversification of channels to create awareness, we expect Taiwan to become Asia’s best tourist destination," Cindy Chen, deputy director of Taiwan Tourism Bureau’s Kuala Lumpur office, said during the 2017 Taiwan Tourism Workshop in Jakarta.

In 2016, the number of Indonesian tourists visiting Taiwan reached more than 180,000 travelers, an increase of 6.2 percent from the year prior. This year, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau noted that the number of visitors from January to August reached almost 130,000.

Phoebe Yeh, deputy representative of the Taipei Economic and Trade Office (TETO), said that initiatives include an ease in visa regulations for Indonesian applicants, allowing travelers to apply for Taiwanese visas online.

Furthermore, the Taiwanese government is encouraging Indonesian companies to take their employees to Taiwan for incentive travel by providing subsidies, should the companies meet certain standards.

Chen also said that efforts to attract more Indonesian visitors are being carried out through partnerships with popular media outlets, key opinion leaders as well as lifestyle bloggers, with a particular focus on younger generations.

According to Grace Utomo, chairwoman of the Association of Air Ticketing Companies in Indonesia (Astindo), "the younger generation are spending more of their income to experience new destinations, like Taiwan."

Grace added that with the growth of the Indonesian middle class, travel-related purchases are one of their priorities after their basic needs are met.

"We hope that Indonesian and Taiwanese travel industry can work together to create diverse travel products and create win-win situation for both travel industries and the visitors," Chen said.

There are currently more than 80 flights per week between cities in Taiwan and Indonesia, and over 100 hotels and restaurants with halal certifications in the East Asian country to cater to Indonesia’s predominantly Muslim population.

Taiwan represents one of the many countries across the globe that are ramping up their travel industries to attract more Muslim travelers. Halal food, modest fashion and demand for wellness products are among the most significant contributors drivers in the Muslim consumer market, according to Mastercard-Crescentrating’s 2017 Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI).

GMTI, which ranks countries based on how well they cater to Muslim travelers, placed Taiwan as the 7th top destination for Muslim travelers among countries who are not members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Yeh said that Taiwan’s government focus on Indonesian travelers is also part of President Tsai Ing-wen’s New Southbound Policy, which seeks to strengthen relations with member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

"One key aspect [of this policy] is to enhance people-to-people interaction. Traveling is a good way to enhance the understanding between Taiwan and Indonesia," Yeh said.

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