Taiwan has extended visa waiver for citizens from the Philippines, Thailand and Brunei to July 31, 2020, as part of its New Southbound Policy, allowing visitors from these three countries to enter Taiwan without a visa. Since then, attention has centered around whether the policy will expand to include Indonesia and Vietnam.
The Minister of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), on Aug. 5 said that Taiwan had relaxed visa regulations in an effort to offset the effect of China’s travel ban on the solo traveler to Taiwan on its tourism industry.
The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) estimates that since 2017, when the policy giving 14 days visa-free privileges to citizens from the Philippines was implemented, Taiwan saw a 120,000-increase in the number of visitors from the Philippines. Thirty new air routes opened up in 2018 with more than 70 percent flying to Northeast and Southeast Asia. Therefore, along with increased flight connectivity, visa-free policies are expected to boost tourism and encourage family members of Taiwanese new immigrants to visit.
Joanne Ou (歐江安), spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), announced on Aug. 13 that visa policies towards Indonesia and Vietnam are currently under the assessment of the Executive Yuan. As this concerns not only tourism but also border control and national security, careful considerations have to be made.