Taiwan upbeat on Philippine tourism with start of visa-free trial

In this Oct. 28, 2017 file photo, visitors scout Taipei International Travel Affair in search of the latest travel destinations at a bargain price. Some 180,000 Filipinos visited Taiwan between January and August this year, an increase of more than 70 percent over the same period of last year. (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) – The Tourism Bureau expressed optimism Tuesday about inbound tourism from the Philippines, thanks to a trial program starting next month offering Philippine nationals visa-free entry to Taiwan for up to 14 days.

Some 180,000 Filipinos visited Taiwan between January and August this year, an increase of more than 70 percent over the same period of last year, said bureau official Tsao Yi-shu (曹逸書).

The trial program will hopefully bring even more tourists from the Philippines to Taiwan by year-end, Tsao said.

The majority of Philippine tourists to Taiwan are young people, Tsao said, adding that their activities mostly involve shopping in major cities in northern Taiwan.

As such, in order to further expand their scope of interests, the bureau official noted that former Philippine beauty queen Maggie Wilson has been invited to Taiwan in September to shoot travel videos featuring some of the island’s popular travel spots and recreational activities, including a tour of Taroko Gorge in Hualien County and visits to local indigenous villages.

According to a bureau press release, the Philippines is one of Taiwan’s important economic partners in Southeast Asia, with an economic growth rate averaging about 6 percent annually.

As traveling abroad has become a trend for the newly rich in the Philippines, Taiwan’s tourism bureau has been working to attract more tourists from there, it said. 

By Chang Ming-hsuan and Ko Lin