Taiwan grants visa-free privileges to Thailand, Brunei

  • Date: 2016-07-15
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

Taiwan  will  kick  off  a  one-year  trial  program  on  August  1  to  grant  visa-exempt  privileges  to  Thai  and  Brunei  nationals  for  stays  up  to  30  days,  Executive  Yuan  Spokesperson  Tung  Chen-yuan  said  today.  Tourists  from  other  Southeast  Asian  countries  will  also  be  able  to  visit  Taiwan  visa-free  provided  they  meet  certain  conditions.  

The  measure,  part  of  the  administration’s  “New  Southbound  Policy,”  was  approved  at  a  meeting  chaired  by  Premier  Lin  Chuan  to  discuss  ways  of  increasing  tourists  from  Southeast  Asia.  It  is  expected  to  increase  the  number  of  tourists  from  Southeast  Asia  by  280,000,  or  20  percent,  from  the  previous  year,  generating  NT$13  billion  (US$401.2  million)  for  Taiwan’s  tourism  industry,  according  to  the  Ministry  of  Transportation  and  Communications  (MOTC).

Taiwan  in  particular  aims  to  attract  tourists  from  Thailand,  which  has  a  population  of  67  million.  In  the  first  five  months  of  this  year,  the  number  of  tourists  from  Thailand  jumped  87.55  percent  from  the  same  period  last  year,  the  MOTC  said.  Japan  has  also  benefited  greatly  since  it  implemented  visa-free  measures  for  visitors  from  the  Association  of  Southeast  Asian  Nations  (ASEAN)  in  2015,  attracting  a  whopping  205.7  percent  more  Thai  tourists  than  the  year  before.

Starting  September  1  this  year,  citizens  of  Cambodia,  India,  Indonesia,  Laos,  Myanmar,  the  Philippines  and  Vietnam  who  have  obtained  visas  to  Australia,  Canada,  Japan,  New  Zealand,  the  Schengen  Area,  South  Korea,  the  United  States  or  the  United  Kingdom  over  the  past  10  years  will  also  be  allowed  to  enter  Taiwan  visa-free  after  registering  on  the  Internet,  Tung  said.

In  addition  to  visa  measures,  the  government  plans  to  boost  tourism  by  increasing  the  number  of  tour  guides  in  Taiwan,  creating  a  more  Muslim-friendly  environment,  and  raising  the  tourism  marketing  budget  from  NT$80  million  (US$2.5  million)  in  2015  to  NT$200  million  (US$6.2  million).  

To  support  these  policies,  the  MOTC  will  work  with  authorities  governing  scenic  areas  to  review  and  improve  English-language  signs;  the  Ministry  of  Economic  Affairs  is  encouraging  ASEAN  business  travelers  to  also  see  the  sights  while  on  business  here;  and  the  Ministry  of  Finance  is  increasing  the  number  of  locations  providing  tax  refunds  and  foreign  currency  exchanges.