The Jakarta Post
The skyscrapers in Taipei, Taiwan. (Shutterstock/File)
A total of 210,000 Indonesian citizens flew to Taiwan in 2018, but only 53,000 of them were tourists as the majority of them aimed to work there.
Fanny Low, director of the Taiwan Tourism Information Center in Indonesia, said the number of Indonesian tourists in Taiwan was still small compared to those traveling to Malaysia or Singapore, for instance.
However, this year is different. Low said they have seen 24 percent growth of Indonesian travelers from January to May and Taiwan plans to increase the number by 10 percent.
Targeting more Indonesian tourists, the Taiwan Tourism Information Center in Jakarta has introduced three main programs for travelers heading to Taiwan, namely halal-certified, medical and aesthetic and educational tourist programs.
Mastercard-CrescentRating recently released the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2019 that positions Taiwan third of top non-OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) destinations for Muslim travelers.
Taiwan has over 200 halal-certified hotels and restaurants and it has built grand mosques in large cities like Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung. “There aren’t many mosques in Taiwan because most Taiwanese aren’t Muslims, but we have mushalla [small mosques] in every major facility like train stations and shopping malls,” said Low.
Read also: Exploring Taipei's halal tourist sites
Taipei Grand Mosque, the largest mosque in Taiwan. (JP/Wening Gitomartoyo)
People can also download Halal.TW, an app made by Indonesian students in Taiwan, to explore halal destinations, hotels and restaurants. Available in English, Chinese and Indonesian, the app also can be found in the Apple Store.
When it comes to medical and aesthetic tourism, Taiwan has Chang Gung Memorial Hospital that offers a number of services, including medical check-up and cosmetic surgery. Chen I-Fan, the representative of the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, said the cost of cosmetic surgery in Taiwan is reasonable. “If we compare it with [cosmetic surgery in] Korea, it can be 50 percent more affordable,” Chen said at the same event.
Chen added that most female patients are interested to undergo face-lift, teeth whitening, eye bag removal and double chin surgery, while male patients are more into face-lifts to reduce their wrinkles.
The procedures are said to be conducted by medical specialists with advanced equipment.
Furthermore, Taiwan also offers a summer camp for junior high school students who want to learn the Mandarin language for two weeks to one month. But those who are in search for universities abroad, particularly to major in coding, programming and online gaming, may put Taiwan on their list. (mut)