Taiwan - Country Commercial Guide
Travel and Tourism (TRM)

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data

Last published date: 2020-09-25

Overview

Travel Tourism Market                                                                              Unit: USD

 

2017

2018

2019

2020 (est.)

Taiwan Travelers to the U.S.

475,000

478,000

500,000

N/A

Taiwan Travelers’ Contribution to U.S. Economy

2.2 billion

2.2 billion

N/A

N/A

Exchange Rate:  USD1

29.65

30.59

30.11

30.28

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 with the U.S. Department of Commerce, the United States welcomed 499,520 Taiwan tourists in 2019, who spent over $2.3 billion on travel-related goods and services.  This amount equates to about $4,600 of expenditures per traveler.  More than 50,000 Taiwanese travelers make 2 to 3 trips to the United States each year.

Taiwan visitors to the United States most commonly travel for the purpose of vacation and holidays (35%), visiting friends and relatives (25%), doing business (20%) and attending conferences and trade shows (11%), (2019 Taiwan Market Profile from the National Travel and Tourism Office with the U.S. Department of Commerce).  Regarding traveler characteristics, Taiwan visitors took an average of 69 days to finalize their travel plans, and 17% of them booked a pre-arranged package.  The average length of stay for Taiwan visitors in the United States is from 8 to 16 nights and they visited an average of 1.6 states.

Taiwan was designated for participation in the visa-waiver program in 2012 and designated for participation in the Global Entry program in 2017.  Most of Taiwan’s tourist and business travelers no longer need to apply for non-immigrant visas, and frequent travelers can register with Global Entry for more seamless travel to the United States.  The ease of travel between the United States and Taiwan has led to strong gains for the U.S. travel and tourism market.  Taiwan travel to the United States has increased by 70% since 2012 when Taiwan joined the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.  

Each year more than half of Taiwan’s 23 million people travel abroad for business, education, and leisure.  Taiwan’s population shares a cultural perspective with the United States as an international melting pot that attracts many immigrants who bring their own culture and cuisine to the country.  Despite its maturing, the tourism industry has room to grow because of the increased demand for MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Conference, and Exhibition) services from U.S providers.  

As Taiwan’s travel market matures, international travel is shifting towards Foreign Independent Travelers (FIT), a market sector of individuals who arrange their own variety of special interest tours, flights, car rental, and accommodations.  Because 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.  Personal ties and business links between the United States and Taiwan contribute to Taiwan’s interest in the United States as a travel destination.

Leading Sub-Sectors

California received the most visitors from Taiwan, with nearly half of Taiwan visitors, followed by Guam, New York, and Nevada.  Washington, Illinois, Massachusetts, Texas, Hawaii, and Florida are also attracting a growing number of Taiwan visitors.  The top American cities that receive visitors from Taiwan are Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Las Vegas, Seattle, San Jose, Chicago, Boston, San Diego, Honolulu and Anaheim.  New attractions in other American cities could be highly successful among Taiwan tourists, provided that these activities are promoted in gateway cities. 

Taiwan visitors enjoy a diverse range of activities in the United States, including: shopping (90%), sightseeing (77%), fine dining (41%), visiting art galleries/museums (33%), visiting national parks/monuments (29%) visiting small towns/the countryside (26%), and visiting historical locations, cultural/etnic heritage sites, casinos/gaming, ad etc.

The main sources of information for Taiwan travelers considering the United States are personal recommendations from friend and family (33%), airlines (42%), travel agency offices (24%), online travel agencies (20%), travel guides (19%), corporate travel departments (21%), tour operators or travel clubs (7%), and national/state/city/ travel offices (6%). 

Opportunities

Taiwan’s desire for international travel presents new opportunities for American businesses.  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 tour operators and media personnel.  Partnerships are an efficient way to promote new destinations, attractions, hotels, and restaurants in the United States.

The implementation of technology in the Taiwan travel and tourism industry is evolving at a rapid pace.  CS Taiwan has initiated e-commerce promotion initiatives to support U.S. CVBs, destinations, and attractions through webinars and social media in Taiwan.  As the internet penetration rate in Taiwan is high (93%) (source: Taiwan Network Information Center), the U.S. Commercial Service in Taipei has initiated several virtual presentations promoting the destinations of the United States and successfully helped promote visitations from Taiwan to visit those destinations.

The U.S. Commercial Service in Taipei also offers 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, Taiwan maintained good air connections to major U.S. cities with over 800 weekly flights, among which were more than 110 direct flights from Taiwan to several U.S. gateway cities.  United Airlines provided daily services to the United States via Japan and operates non-stop service to San Francisco.  Two Taiwan carriers, China Airlines and EVA Air provided daily non-stop flights to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Honolulu, Guam, Houston and Ontario. 

The Impact of COVID pandemic on the U.S. Economy and International Travel

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce National Travel and Tourism Office, visitors from Taiwan to the U.S. dropped 34% in Q1 2020. 

United Airlines has cancelled its TPE-SFO daily operation up to June 5.  Tour operators and travel agents in Taiwan have already seen their revenue decrease by 85-90% at the end of Q1.

During this COVID pandemic period, the U.S. Commercial Service in Taipei has initiated an online/virtual promotion entitled “Dream Now, Travel Later” to encourage people could still “go” travel online.  The series of activities will include a virtual photographic exhibit and social media campaign.

Web Resources

U.S. firms interested in learning more about Taiwan’s outbound travel and tourism market, as well expanding U.S. export opportunities to Taiwan at the trade shows mentioned above are encouraged to contact CS Taipei Specialist Mei Mei Wang at meimei.wang@trade.gov or visit our website