Hong Kong's top travel industry operator said yesterday the new computerized entry visas, dubbed iPermits, will induce more Taiwan visitors to come to the former British colony.
Joseph Tung Yiu-chung, executive director of the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, said the new visa granting measure, slated to go into force today, will help increase the arrivals of Taiwan visitors by at least 10 percent.
The iPermit Scheme makes use of the Internet and an automatic computer system to process the entry applications of Taiwan people to Hong Kong. Potential visitors will be able to submit their applications at an authorized office in Taiwan and will have their applications approved immediately, allowing them to travel to Hong Kong at any time.
Tung said the new visa scheme is conducive to soliciting more visitors from Taiwan since they will be able to save a lot of time. At present, Taiwan people must apply single-journey or multiple-journey Taiwan Visit Permits before they can enter Hong Kong. The processing of applications takes as long as 15 days.
Additional 10-15 percent of arrivals from Taiwan -- equivalent to 240,000 to 360,000 person/visits -- will generate an additional tourism revenue ranging from HK$1.1 to 1.6 billion a year for Hong Kong. A Taiwan visitor spent an estimated HK$4,400 per stay last year.