Taiwan will simplify visa procedures for travelers from eight member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Executive Yuan announced today. The move, in line with the administration’s “New Southbound Policy,” is expected to boost tourism and broaden Taiwan’s exchanges with ASEAN.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) will be focusing on three areas in the effort to remove tourist visa barriers for the 10 ASEAN members plus India:
1. Extend visa-free privileges to more countries: In addition to Singapore and Malaysia, which already enjoy visa exemptions, Taiwan will work diplomatic channels to extend visa-free privileges to more Southeast Asian countries.
2. Expand a Tourism Bureau program that simplifies travel visas for Southeast Asian tourist groups: The types of tour groups and the number of travel agencies that qualify for this program will be increased. Laos, Cambodia and Burma will be added to the current list of qualified countries (Indonesia, India, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand), bringing the list to eight. Group visa procedures will also be simplified.
3. Extend online visa approvals to more countries: Laos, Cambodia and Burma will be added to the current list of qualified countries (Indonesia, India, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand), bringing the list to eight.
At a recent meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation tourism ministers attended by Transportation Minister Ho Chen Tan, participating economies agreed that simplifying visa procedures is the most concrete means of lowering tourism exchange barriers, the Executive Yuan said. To promote the New Southbound Policy and expand tourism source markets, the Tourism Bureau has stepped up advertising and marketing campaigns in emerging countries. The bureau hopes the simplified visa process will attract more visitors to Taiwan.
Since the launch of the Tourism Bureau’s group visa simplification program in November 2015, a total of 662 groups (13,257 travelers) had applied for the privileges as of June 13. After removing visa obstacles for the eight ASEAN countries, Taiwan can expect to see at least a 20-percent increase in tourists from ASEAN this year, the Executive Yuan said.