Sat, Jun 11, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Government considers visa privileges for tourists from ASEAN countries

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan is considering visa entry privileges for tourists from eight ASEAN members, in line with the government’s “New Southbound Policy,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

In a report submitted to several legislative committees, the ministry said it has been working to promote the government’s new policy, which was outlined by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) during last year’s presidential election campaign.

Visitors from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam would be granted entry privileges such as visa waivers, landing visas or e-visas, according to the report.

Visitors from two other ASEAN member nations, Malaysia and Singapore, already enjoy visa exemptions for stays of up to 30 days in Taiwan.

As the “New Southbound Policy” aims to achieve an economic transformation for Taiwan and push for a greater role for the nation in foreign affairs and global issues, Southeast Asia forms a key segment that Taiwan must seize as part of its efforts to expand its domestic market with a “people-focused” strategy, the report said.

To achieve this goal, Taiwan is emphasizing joining regional economic integration and attracting tourists from Southeast Asia and South Asia, it said.

Taiwan had a “Go South” push in the 1990s under then-president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), but it did not succeed because China was opening up at the time and the region was hit by the 1997 financial crisis.

With the Democratic Progressive Party’s win in both the presidential and legislative elections in January, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan has fallen in recent months.

To compensate for the loss in tourism dollars from Chinese visitors, the government is keen to attract tourists from Southeast Asia, South Asia and East Asia, without compromising national security and public order, the ministry said.

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