Taipei, July 26 (CNA) A free electronic visa application service for Hong Kong and Macau visitors to Taiwan has helped boost tourism figures in Taiwan, the National Immigration Agency said Thursday.
As of Thursday, 1,202,523 Hong Kong or Macau travelers had visited Taiwan on e-visas since the new system was launched Sept. 1, 2010, according to agency statistics.
In 2009, when there was no e-visa service and the visa-handling fee was NT$300 (US$9.96), 488,496 travelers from the two regions visited Taiwan, the statistics showed.
The number of visitors grew to 606,293 in 2010 and 696,657 last year, the agency added.
Despite a loss of NT$90 million in application fees, the growth in visitor numbers benefited the local economy, with each traveler spending an average of NT$28,000 during a stay that lasted four days on average, the agency noted.
(By Liu Chien-pang and Kendra Lin)