Taipei, July 20 (CNA) The visa waiver for tourists from Thailand, Brunei, the Philippines and Russia will be extended for one year, from August 1, 2021 to July 31, 2022, according to the Foreign Ministry (MOFA ) announced on Tuesday.
The decision to expand visa-free treatment for the four countries was made following a review by relevant agencies at a meeting on April 12, MOFA said in a press release.
The decision was also made in view of resuming international travel in the post-pandemic era, MOFA said.
However, the ministry clarified that the policy is separate from Taiwan’s current ban on the entry of foreign tourists due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been in effect since March 19, 2020.
MOFA said it would decide when to reopen the country’s borders to foreign travelers for tourism purposes based on recommendations from the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
As part of the government’s “New Southbound Policy”, which aims to promote closer trade with neighboring countries, the ministry granted visa-free treatment to tourists from Thailand and Brunei for the first time on the 1st. August 2016.
The privilege has since been extended each year, with the Philippines and Russia added to the list.
Another decision taken after the April 12 meeting was to extend the project to simplify visa regulations for high-end group tourists from Southeast Asian countries (觀 宏 專案) until the 31st. December 2022, MOFA said.
Under the project, which was first introduced in 2015, tourists from India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos are allowed to travel to Taiwan using electronic visas if they are in a group of at least five people and are traveling through an accredited travel agency.