Taiwan set to pay holidaymakers to visit in bid to boost tourism

Tourists pose for photos on Fulong Beach, Taiwan.
Fulong Beach, pictured, is one of Taiwan's popular destinations. Photo credit: Annabelle Chih/Getty Images

As travel returns with a bang, but rising airfares are making long-haul journeys difficult for many, destinations are doing all they can to encourage visitors to come and boost their economies.

The latest is Taiwan, which is planning to offer tourists NZ$265 each to vacation there. Cash rewards will also be offered to tour groups to encourage them to visit the island.

Taiwan's Premier Chen Chien-jen announced Thursday that the government aims to attract six million tourists in 2023, doubling that figure in 2024 and aiming for 10 million visitors by 2025.

As a sweetener, they'll give handouts of NT$5000 (NZ$265) to 500,000 individual tourists. Allowances of up to NT$20,000 (NZ$10,060) will also be provided to 90,000 tour groups.

Transport Minister Wang Kuo-tsai stated that the cash allowance will be delivered digitally. Tourists will be able to use it to cover their expenses in Taiwan, including for accommodation.

He added the measures are aimed at attracting more visitors from key markets including Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Macao, as well as Europe and America.

Taiwan saw just under 900,000 inbound visitors in 2022, according to statistics from the Taiwan Tourism Bureau. Visitors from Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan and the USA were among the largest groups.

Those figures are a fraction of those from 2019, when Taiwan attracted a record 11.8 million international tourists - up more than 7 percent on the previous year.

The island lifted its entry restrictions in October 2022, after one of the longest border closures in the world.

Ready to book? Hold fire for now. The government has yet to announce when the scheme will start or how to apply for the money.