Pop stars bring fans to Taiwan

Taiwanese pop stars have succeeded in spreading their charms across borders, attracting large numbers of fans from other Asian countries and making significant contributions to the country’s tourism revenue, tourism officials said yesterday.

Tourism Bureau Director-­General Janice Lai (賴瑟珍) said that since the four-member pop group F4 began acting as a spokesman for Taiwanese tourism in 2007, the strategy of using popular artists to attract foreign tourists has proven successful, especially over the past two years.

The number of tourist arrivals from Japan in 2007 set a record high of 1.16 million — a stark contrast to a decrease in the number of Japan’s overall outbound travelers that year, Lai said.

Also in 2007, the number of South Korean visitors to Taiwan grew 15.06 percent to 220,000 from the previous year, passing 200,000 for the first time, she added.

In addition to fans from Japan and South Korea in northeastern Asia, music lovers from China, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, Thailand, the Philippines and even the US and Canada have come to Taiwan in the hope of seeing their idols.

F4 is considered the vanguard of the current craze for Taiwanese singers and TV stars among young people in Southeast Asia, and its four members are believed to have helped generate more than NT$1.1 billion (US$33.54 million) in tourism income for Taiwan.

Wayne Liu (劉喜臨), a section chief at the Tourism Bureau, said that judging by the reasons tourists listed for coming to Taiwan, the number of foreign fans was still increasing.

(Source: Taipei Times, 25 July 2009)

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