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Tourism income reaches record high in 2013: bureau

The nation's income from tourism reached a record high of NT$366.8 billion (US$12.3 billion) in 2013, the Tourism Bureau announced yesterday.

The Tourism Bureau said that the nation's income from tourism last year increased by 4.7 percent from 2012.

According to the Tourism Bureau, based on the survey it conducted at Taoyuan International Airport, Kaohsiung International Airport, and Taipei Songshan Airport, the average daily spending of each tourist in 2013 was US$224.07, which is a 4.37-percent decrease compared to 2012.

The Tourism Bureau said that tourists from Japan on average spent US$265.28 daily in 2013 in Taiwan, which is the highest amount among all foreign tourists, followed by tourists from China, who spent US$259.64.

Even though the number of Japanese tourists visiting Taiwan dropped between last January and last August, the Tourism Bureau said the number of Japanese tourists started to grow last September, and they brought in about US$1.8 billion in tourism last year.

According to the Tourism Bureau, the number of tourists from mainland China increased by 11.15 percent compared to 2012, reaching 2.87 million in 2013 and bringing in US$5.5 billion.

The Tourism Bureau said that except for the spending of tourists from Japan and mainland China, the daily spending of tourists from other countries all increased in 2013.

Taipei Ranked 15th Best City for Travel

Taipei was ranked the 15th best city for traveling in the world by the latest Global Destination Cities Index published by MasterCard yesterday.

MasterCard predicted that the number of tourists visiting Taipei could increase from 5.8 million in 2012 to 6.29 million this year.

According to the Global Destination Cities Index, Taipei is ranked the sixth best city for traveling in Asia. At higher rankings are Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Seoul.

Of the top 20 cities that are most visited globally, according to MasterCard, the tourist growth rate for Taipei is 8.4 percent, which is the third highest in the rankings while Istanbul tops the list, having a tourist growth rate of 17.5 percent.

Mathew Driver, President of South East Asia for MasterCard Worldwide, said that Taipei benefits from its great geographical location, which is close mainland China, Korea and Japan.

Driver said that Taipei can provide different a travel experience to Hong Kong. Tourists can shop at Hong Kong, Driver said, but they can enjoy more natural landscapes in Taipei.

MasterCard said that the number of tourists visiting Bangkok topped the numbers of tourists visiting cities last year, but this year, due to the unstable political situation in Thailand, London tops Bangkok again this year as the most visited city in the world.

According to the Global Destination Cities Index, five out of the top ten best cities for traveling are located in Asia, including Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Seoul.

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