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Visa-free entry for Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Russia extended

2019/07/02 20:25:55

Image taken from Pixabay for illustrative purpose only

Taipei, July 2 (CNA) Taiwan on Tuesday announced an extension of visa-free treatment for citizens of the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei and Russia for another year after seeing significant growth in tourist numbers from these countries thanks to the program.

The visa-free trial program for the four countries was originally set to expire July 31, according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) press release.

Following a May 24 cross-ministerial meeting attended by representatives of government units in charge of national security, the police, the investigation bureau, immigration, tourism and the economy, an agreement was reached to extend the program for another year, according to the statement.

Government figures show that the visa-free program, allowing foreign nationals from those countries to enjoy visa-free entry to Taiwan for stays of up to 14 days, has helped increase visitor arrivals.

According to statistics from the Tourism Bureau, nationals from 18 New Southbound Policy partner countries, most of which are Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries, including the Philippines, Thailand and Brunei, made a total of 2.60 million visits to Taiwan in 2018, up 13.61 percent over the 2.29 million visits recorded a year ago.

Meanwhile, since Russian passport holders were first granted visa-free entry in September 2018, there has been a 65 percent increase from a year earlier in the number of Russian travelers to Taiwan, according to foreign ministry figures.

MOFA said the government will conduct another review to see if the visa-free privileges should be further extended upon the scheduled expiration date of July 31, 2020.

(By Joseph Yeh)
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