Foreign institutional investors perform a critical role in the development of the tourism industry. While board governance is a critical mechanism in firms, few studies have attempted to investigate whether board governance matters when foreign institutional investors buy shares of tourism firms. Based on signaling theory, the current study uses a sample of listed tourism firms in Taiwan. Board size, board independence and director ownership are used as proxies of board governance. Results show that the ownership proportion of foreign institutional investors is higher when tourism firms have a smaller board and higher director ownership. These results offer theoretical and practical implications for researchers and practitioners.