Travel Tourism Market
|Taiwan Travelers to the U.S.
|Taiwan Travelers’ Contribution to U.S. Economy in USD (Includes Passenger Air Transportation)
|To be announced
|Exchange Rate: New Taiwan Dollars per U.S. Dollar
Sources: National Travel and Tourism Office with the U.S. Department of Commerce
The United States is the top long-haul destination for Taiwan’s outbound travelers. According to the National Travel and Tourism Office of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the United States welcomed 50,470 tourists from Taiwan in 2021. Though the pandemic depressed these inflows, travel volumes have begun to return to their pre-Covid levels over the past two years. In 2022, the U.S. welcomed 137,085 tourists from Taiwan, which was a three-fold increase over the previous year.
According to the National Travel and Tourism Office in the U.S. Department of Commerce, in 2020, 37% of Taiwanese tourists came to the United States to visit friends and relatives, 29% were taking a vacation or holiday, 21% were doing business and 7% were attending conferences and trade shows. Taiwan tourists took an average of 69 days to finalize their travel plans, and 8% booked a prepaid package. The average Taiwan visitor spent thirteen to twenty-eight nights in the United States, and they visited an average of 1.2 states.
The increasing ease of travel between the United States and Taiwan has led to strong gains for the U.S. tourism market. Taiwan was admitted to the United States’ visa-waiver program in 2012 and joined the Global Entry program in 2017. Because of these changes, the majority of Taiwan’s tourist and business travelers can now travel to the United States without a visa.
As Taiwan’s travel market continues to mature, international travel is shifting towards Foreign Independent Travelers (FIT), which describes individuals who design their itinerary around personalized packages of special interest tours, flights, car rentals, and accommodations. More than 80% of the visitors from Taiwan to the United States are FITs. Demand is expected to grow for niche travel experiences such as sports travel, adventure tours, health and wellness vacations, honeymoon tours, gastronomic holidays, cruise tours, and youth study travel.
In 2020, California was the most popular destination for Taiwan tourists in the United States by far, with more than half of all Taiwan tourists visiting the state, followed by Washington state and New York state. The top American cities for Taiwan tourists are Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Las Vegas, Seattle, San Jose, Chicago, Boston, San Diego, and Anaheim. New attractions in other American gateway cities could be highly successful among Taiwan tourists.
In 2020, Taiwan visitors enjoyed a diverse range of activities in the United States including shopping (88%), sightseeing (69%), fine dining (40%), visiting national parks/monuments (29%) visiting small towns/the countryside (29%), visiting art galleries/museums (15%), and visiting historical locations, cultural/ethnic heritage sites, casinos/gaming, ad etc.
The main sources of travel information for Taiwan tourists are airlines (44%), personal recommendations (41%), travel agency offices (21%), travel guides (19%), online travel agencies (19%), and corporate travel departments (8%).
American travel agencies can be directly represented in Taiwan by a representative office or by designating a General Sales Agent (GSA). They can also work with airlines and state tourism promotion organizations to conduct familiarization tours for Taiwanese tour guides and media personnel. Partnerships with these travel tour guides and media personnel are an efficient way to promote new American destinations, attractions, hotels, and restaurants to Taiwan tourists.
The Taiwan travel and tourism industry is increasingly digitized. Taking advantage of this trend and Taiwan’s high internet penetration rate (93%), CS Taiwan has supported U.S. Convention and Tourism Bureaus by running eCommerce promotion initiatives, webinars and social media campaigns in Taiwan for their destinations and attractions.
The U.S. Commercial Service in Taiwan also offers other cost-effective services such as Single Company Promotion (SCP) or Gold Key Matching Service (GKS) to help American destinations or suppliers to expand their presence in Taiwan, or to find the right sales agents.
Major Air Routes to the United States and Hubs
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were about 800 weekly flights between Taiwan and the U.S., including 110 direct flights from Taiwan to U.S. gateway cities. Over the past two years, flight frequency from Taiwan to the United States is gradually returning to its pre-pandemic level. By the end of 2023, the number of flights between Taiwan and the U.S. is projected to return to at least 80% of its pre-COVID 19 level. United Airlines provides daily services from Taiwan to the United States via Japan and operates daily non-stop service from Taipei’s Taoyuan Airport to San Francisco. Taiwan carrier EVA Air recently announced it will offer three flights a day between Taoyuan to Los Angeles and San Francisco. EVA Air also plans to increase its number of weekly flights from Taoyuan to Chicago from three to seven. China Airlines currently provides daily flights to San Francisco and Vancouver and operates 17 flights a week to the greater Los Angeles area.
In April 2023, the newly established Taiwan airline company, STARLUX Airlines, launched its first long-haul route from Taoyuan to Los Angeles, which will offer daily flights. The company is planning to open a route to San Francisco by the end of 2023.
The travel situation from Taiwan to the U.S. after COVID-19
In October 2022, Taiwan eased border controls and eliminated the quarantine requirement for foreign arrivals. In 2022, the cap on foreign arrivals tripled from the year before to more than 130 thousand.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection office ended quarantine and full-vaccination requirements for foreign visitors in March 2023. The National Travel and Tourism Office of the U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that the easing of these restrictions will lead to a 139% increase in inbound travelers from Taiwan to the United States.
The return of Taiwanese students for in-person programs is further spurring Taiwanese travel to the United States. While visiting friends/family studying in the United States, many Taiwanese also seek out local U.S. tours.
Despite price spikes in the U.S., on a recent survey Taiwanese travelers expressed a willingness to pay more when traveling internationally: 72 percent of the interviewees are willing to spend more than they spent on their last overseas trip; among those, 85 percent would accept a 20 percent increase, and 12 percent would accept a 21 percent to 40 percent price increase.
- National Travel and Tourism Office
- Discover America Committee in Taiwan (http://www.discoveramerica.org.tw/PDF/DAC_Membership.pdf)
- Brand USA Taiwan Representative Office (http://www.gousa.tw/)
- Tourism Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications
- Taipei Tourism Exposition Organizer (https://www.tite.com.tw/en/)
- Taipei International Travel Fair Organizer
Establishing an Office
When establishing a subsidiary, branch, or representative office in Taiwan, there are logistical issues to consider and an array of forms and procedures to complete. A Chinese language company name is also required. It is strongly recommended that new firms consult with local attorneys and accountants to identify relevant industry issues and complete all necessary steps for establishing a new entity.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) provides information on investing and setting up a company in Taiwan through the InvesTaiwan office. InvesTaiwan can also be reached by phone at +886-2-2311-2031.