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Taiwan could obtain U.S. visa waiver status in October: vice president

2012/05/25 15:21:56

Taipei, May 25 (CNA) Vice President Wu Den-yih said Friday Taiwan will probably be included in the United States' visa waiver program (VWP) in October.

This will make traveling arrangements for Taiwan nationals more convenient and will also make visitors feel more welcome when they arrive in the U.S., Wu said while addressing the 2012 Taipei Tourism Exposition.

Taiwan obtained VWP candidacy status last December. If included in the program, Taiwanese passport holders will be granted visa-free stays of up to 90 days.

So far, 127 countries have granted visa waiver privileges to Taiwan nationals.

Wu said since President Ma Ying-jeou was inaugurated in 2008, the government has been strongly promoting tourism, which is listed among the country's "six emerging industries."

Over the past four years, visitor arrivals to Taiwan have been increasing at a rate of 1 million people per year to top 6 million in 2011, he said.

A 20 percent growth was recorded in the first four months of 2012, with the number expected to total 7 million for the whole year, he said, predicting that visitor arrivals will hit 10 million a year by 2016.

(By Wang Shu-fen and Y.F. Low)