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People may delay U.S. visits until visa waiver status gained: agency

2012/05/28 15:59:24

Taipei, May 28 (CNA) Taiwanese people who plan to visit the United States during the summer might delay their travel plans to benefit from visa waiver privileges, which are expected in October, a tour operator said Monday.

Anthony Liao, general manager of Taiwan-based Phoenix Tours, said that after Vice President Wu Den-yih revealed a probable time when the visa free status could be expected, Taiwanese nationals will very likely delay their travel plans to save the visa fee.

Liao was referring to Wu's remark on May 25 that Taiwan is likely to be included in the U.S. visa waiver program in October.

Liao said the U.S. visa waiver status is expected to help boost business for local travel agencies in the final quarter of this year and the whole of 2013.

The number of Taiwanese people traveling to the U.S. has been on the decline over the past ten years due to tighter security measures after the 911 terrorist attack and an expensive visa fee, he said.

Growth in the number of Taiwanese passport holders traveling to the U.S. is estimated at 50 percent after visa waiver privileges take effect, he continued.

From previous experiences, the number of Taiwanese people traveling to countries that gave Taiwan nationals visa free treatment grew by at least 30 percent after the visa free status was granted.

Boosted by the optimism, share prices of Phoenix Tours and Star Travel -- the only two listed and over-the-counter companies on the Taiwan Stock Exchange -- increased by 3.04 percent and 2.32 percent, respectively, on Monday.

(By Hsu Hsiang-hsin and Jamie Wang)