MEET TAIWAN optimistic on visa-free extension for PHL

Arrivals from the Philippines to Taiwan increased the most by 44 percent in 2018 from 2017. This was revealed by statistics from the Top 10 countries of visitors to Taiwan released recently the Taiwan Tourism Bureau. The first quarter of 2019 has seen Taiwan having already welcomed 13,000 more tourists from the Philippines versus the same period last year.

“We’ve found that more and more Filipino friends are visiting Taiwan—last year we had 420,000 Filipino tourists come to our country. This year our target is 500,000,” said Alfred Wang,  Director of the Economic Division of Taipei Economic & Cultural Office (TECO),  during the MEET TAIWAN Networking Event held June 21, at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel in Makati City. Top players from Taiwan’s Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conferences, Exhibitions (MICE) industry travels, including travel agencies, venues, hotels, city government and public relations agencies introduced the country’s many incentive travel provisions to local travel groups and businesses.

As a result of the steady growth of Filipino tourists flocking to Taiwan, TECO hopes to continue strengthening relations between the two countries through a possible extension of the visa-free policy for Filipinos first implemented in a trial capacity from November, 2017 until July, 2018, and then extended until July 31, 2019.

Wang said the Taiwanese government’s official announcement regarding the possible extension of the Philippines’ current visa-free status may be expected by the public in about two weeks, after a process of re-evaluation.

Taiwan’s MICE program has also received a large boost from the Filipinos’ visa-free privilege.

In recent years, the MICE industry has helped bolster Philippines-Taiwan relations. According to data of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Taiwan was the Philippines’ 8th largest trading partner, 10th largest export market, 8th biggest source of imports in 2017; as well as, the 8th biggest foreign direct investor in 2018.

The Philippine leg of the annual networking event, which had its first show in the country in 2017, is part of MEET TAIWAN’s 2019 roadshow campaign in Southeast Asia. MEET TAIWAN is organized by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), under Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT), Ministry of Economic Affairs.

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