THE Taiwanese government has lifted visa restrictions for Indian travelers in an effort to boost tourism numbers from the world’s second most populated country.
The new policy comes as the government looks to relax visa rules for individuals from India and several Asean countries.
According to Khaleej Times, nationals from India, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos who wish to visit Taiwan were advised to apply for free travel authorization certificate on the official website of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office read.
Taiwanese Foreign Ministry’s Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs director-general Winston Chen made the announcement at a press briefing last week.
Chen was quoted by Focus Taiwan as saying the program was aimed at promoting people-to-people, tourism and commercial exchanges between Taiwan and the countries involved.
Last Thursday, a Taiwanese Cabinet spokesman said the country will allow visa-free entry to visitors from the Philippines. He said the policy will come into effect in October or November.
Currently, Taiwan does not have formal diplomatic relations with the Philippines, which recognizes the “one China” policy under which Manila acknowledges the Chinese position that there is only one China and Taiwan is part of it.
Hsu Kong-yung, the spokesman of Taiwan‘s executive yuan, or Cabinet, said at a press conference: “After we open up the visa-free arrangements, in view of equal mutual benefits, we also hope they will make visa-free arrangements with Taiwan.”
The Travel Agent Association of the Republic of China, Taiwan said it expected the visa-waiver program to attract 33 percent more Philippine visitors to Taiwan next year and boost tourism revenue by TWD2 billion (US$65.8 million). Tourism revenue from Filipino tourists is expected to hit TWD7 billion (US$230 million) by year-end.
Taiwan already has visa-free arrangements with Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. The government is continuing this year with a pilot scheme with Brunei and Thailand kicked off last year.
Additional reporting by Reuters