Aug 30, 2018 Entertainment Comments Off on Taiwan to review visa-free treatment for New Southbound countries
Taipei, A meeting is to be convened Friday to review the visa free policy for a number of countries covered by the New Southbound Policy (NSP), an Executive Yuan official said Thursday.
Minister without Portfolio Chang Jing-sen (???) said the meeting will also discuss whether to offer visa-free treatment to more countries and related issues including crime prevention.
There have been notable increases in the number of visitors from Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines since visa-free treatment was granted, Chang said.
Taiwan introduced visa-free treatment for Thai and Bruneian nationals on a trial basis in August 2016 and extended it last year to July 31, 2018, while the visa-free trial program for the Philippines began on Nov. 1 last year and ran through July 31.
Taiwan then further extended visa-free privileges to the three Southeast Asian nations for a further year until July 31, 2019.
According to Taiwan's Tourism Bureau statistics, visitor arrivals from Thailand, the Philippines and Brunei were 124,409, 139,217 and 3,032, respectively in 2015, prior to the granting of visa-free privileges.
Visitor arrivals increased dramatically to 292,534 and 290,784 from Thailand and the Philippines in 2017 when both countries enjoyed visa-free treatment, the statistics showed.
However, arrivals from Brunei increased to 4,609 in 2016, but dropped to 2,230 in 2017, the statistics showed.
With regards to countries covered by the NSP that have not yet received visa exemptions from Taiwan, including India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar, Chang said the meeting will discuss whether to include these countries in the visa-free program to promote tourism.
However, the countries to be given visa-free treatment will depend of the assessment by national security and related agencies, Chang added.
The key goals of the NSP is to foster links between Taiwan and the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Asia as well as New Zealand and Australia, in the areas of economic and trade relations, science, technology and culture.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel
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