Taiwan to offer visa privileges to eight ASEAN countries

  • Date: 2016-06-15
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

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.