BArich —Taiwan registered the highest growth in foreign tourist arrivals in the world in the first half of the year, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
In a report, the UNWTO said that foreign tourist arrivals in Taiwan for the first six months of the year rose 26.7 percent from a year earlier, topping Japan's 26.4 year-on-year percent increase, which was the second largest in the world.
In the six-month period, foreign tourist arrivals in the Asia Pacific region rose 5.4 percent annually, the report showed. South Korea and Hong Kong also recorded double-digit growth, while China suffered a 2 percent year-on-year decline, according to the report.
Meanwhile, international tourist arrivals worldwide hit 517 million, up 4.6 percent from a year earlier, the report indicated.
In the worldwide rankings in terms of growth during the first half of 2014, the 10 destinations after Taiwan and Japan were Mexico (19.8 percent), South Korea (18.5 percent), Greece (16.7 percent), Argentina (16.7 percent), Vietnam (15.6 percent), Poland (13 percent), Portugal (12.2 percent), Hong Kong (10.5 percent), Malaysia (10.5 percent), and Sweden (10.1 percent).
The UNWTO report also showed that Taiwan's international tourism revenue for the first half of the year rose 18.5 percent from a year earlier, behind only Japan with a 27.5 percent increase and South Korea with a 25.2 percent rise, in the world's rankings.
Commenting on the UNWTO report, Liu Hsi-lin, head of Taiwan's Tourism Bureau, said the growth in foreign tourist arrivals reflected Taiwan's international promotion efforts, in particular to boost the interest of Asian tourists.
In the first eight months of the year, foreign tourist arrivals in Taiwan totaled 6.44 million, a 25.65 percent increase from a year earlier. About 90 percent of the foreign visitors were from Asia, with China, Japan, and Hong Kong/Macau ranking as the top three sources.
Liu said the bureau will continue to promote Taiwan's beautiful scenery and rich culture to potential foreign visitors this year, and is confident of attracting 9.5 million foreign tourists for the whole year, up from some 8 million in 2013.
Meanwhile, Vice President Wu Den-yih said he expects Taiwan's foreign tourist arrivals to top 10 million in 2015, in light of the current tourism data and the government's promotion campaigns.
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