What strategies countries use to attract tourists back

Published 2023-05-22 21:03:25
National park in Mongolia - Credit: Image by seonghochoi-9247541/성호 최 from Pixabay

Countries that have depended heavily on tourism pre-pandemic have had to go back to the drawing board post-pandemic in an attempt to lure tourists back to their shores to boost their economies. In this article we will have a look at some examples.

Although widespread travel has resumed, travel costs have not decreased, which is a challenge in light of the massive financial strain of long months in isolation where jobs were lost and businesses ruined. 

Countries have been compelled to come up with innovative ways to make their tourism destinations more competitive and attractive for travellers watching their pockets.


Taiwan is proposing a cash rewards programme of $165 each to entice tourists to visit them. About 500 000 lucky individuals will receive the allowance to pay for any of their expenses while in Taiwan. About 90 000 tour groups will be given $658. This allowance will be paid over to the lucky tourists digitally. 

The government has a target of six million tourists for 2023 and hopes to achieve a target of 10 million visitors by the year 2025. The transport minister has said that specific efforts will be made for tourists from countries like Europe, America, South East Asia, etc.

In 2022, the majority of tourists to Taiwan came from Japan, America, Vietnam, and Indonesia, totaling around 900,000 visitors. This marked a significant decline from 2019, when Taiwan welcomed over 11.8 million tourists from around the globe.

Due to one of the longest border closures implemented during the pandemic, Taiwan is particularly eager to have visitors to their country. The allowance is an unusual incentive that is still in the process of being implemented.


Earlier this year Dubai scrapped its significant alcohol tax of 30%, which directly impacted the prices tourists have to pay to buy alcohol from shops to consume privately, and the prices of alcoholic beverages consumed at restaurants, hotels and pubs.

Consequently, alcohol distributors have consequently dropped their prices making the food and beverage industry more palatable for tourists. 

This move comes hot on the heels of the sweeping changes made in neighbouring Saudi Arabia aimed at attracting more tourists. Saudi Arabia is shedding its previous reputation as a conservative and intolerant country to one that can offer tourists a unique and enjoyable holiday experience. However, it is still a fairly conservative country where alcohol is not available, which may give Dubai a competitive advantage for some travellers.

Dubai has over the recent years become a tourism magnet by offering a more lenient lifestyle compared to other Gulf countries. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, visitors to Dubai spent more than $29 billion in 2022.

Dubai has over the last twenty years or so become home to a diverse array of expats who flock there for the easy lifestyle and abundant financial opportunities. Life in Dubai is easily comparable to almost any cosmopolitan city of the world where there is acceptance of all diverse religions and cultures, it offers a Western lifestyle of nightclubs, varied foods, bars, etc. These offerings are the ideal attraction for tourists looking for modern conveniences but with a touch of the exotic.

Another concession to tourists is the holy month of Ramadan. While it was previously unacceptable to eat during the day in public, most food outlets and restaurants are now fully operational during the daytime to cater to the tourists.

The fairly recent change made to the weekend to align with the rest of the globe is also another modification made to attract visitors to its shores.

These changes have set Dubai firmly on the path to rapid recovery after the pandemic. 


The tourism sector in Mongolia has been identified as the best way to diversify the economy and create jobs.

Mongolia boasts a wealth of attractions for tourists. The country has diverse nature and stunning sceneries, a unique nomadic lifestyle, culture and festivals, and the historical legacy of Genghis Khan.

In 2019, Mongolia welcomed over half a million tourists with almost 30% originating from China. However, due to the significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the leisure industry experienced massive losses that it is still struggling to recover from today.

Historically, Mongolia depended mainly on Chinese tourists to buoy its tourism industry. However, they are now looking at broadening their target market to includea more diverse range of international tourists to boost their economy, particularly as part of its economic recovery efforts post-pandemic.

Meanwhile, the government and the tourism industry have been developing their services, products, marketing and competitiveness. The country has declared that the years 2023, 2024 and 2025 are to be defined by the slogan "The Years to Visit Mongolia" to emphasize their commitment to promoting tourism.

In a strategy to entice visitors from China and Russia, Mongolia has introduced a 72-hour visa-free travel for eligible tourists.

According to the Mongolian Tourism Association, a goal of at least one million tourists has been set which is expected to generate one billion US dollarsin revenue.


Japan was consistently well-ranked in reports on travel and tourism competitiveness pre-pandemic, solidifying its status as a popular destination for visitors from around the globe. In 2017, the country welcomed over 1 million visitors.

To further enhance its appeal and coax more tourists to their shores, Japan has invested $12.5 billion in the tourism sector. A portion of these funds will be used to fund travel expenses for international tourists by offering discounts and vouchers for travel expenses. To be eligible for these benefits, tourists are required to utilize Japanese travel agencies.

Some other countries

  • Egypt: some restaurants and bazaars near popular tourist destinations are exempt from paying rent.
  • Norway: reduced the 12% VAT to 8% for tourist attractions, accommodation, transport, etc.
  • Turkey: decreased VAT on domestic airlines to 1%.
  • The Republic of Moldova: reduced  VAT on hotels and restaurants.

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Author: KashGo
Expat Mum in the Desert and content writer for EasyExpat.com

For other discussions, advice, question, point of view, get together, etc...: please use the forum.

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