It was due to start in May, then June, then September. A spokesman of Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the Island will finally give free visa on arrival to Philippines travellers from this coming October or November.
News agency Reuters reported that Taiwan will allow visa-free entry for visitors from the Philippines in hopes that the Southeast Asian nation will reciprocate the gesture, a spokesman for the self-ruled island’s cabinet said on Thursday.
Taiwan does not have formal diplomatic relations with the Philippines, which recognizes the “one China” policy under which Manila acknowledges the Chinese position that there is only one China and Taiwan is part of it.
China continues to consider Taiwan a renegade province to be taken back by force, if necessary.
Whether the visa-free policy takes effect in October or November is to be decided by the foreign ministry, said Hsu Kong-yung, the spokesman of Taiwan’s executive yuan, or cabinet to Reuters.
“After we open up the visa-free arrangements, in view of equal mutual benefits, we also hope they will make visa-free arrangements with Taiwan,” he told a news conference.
Taiwan already has visa-free arrangements with Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. The government is continuing this year with a pilot scheme with Brunei and Thailand kicked off last year.
It is also considering visa-free arrangements with Indonesia and Vietnam, according to a government document seen by Reuters. However, they are no information about the time frame for a free visa on arrival scheme for both countries.
In 2016, Taiwan welcomed 10,690,279 foreign visitors, up 250,494 or 2.4% compared to the year 2015. Southeast Asia generated 1,653,908 arrivals during that year, representing a market share of 15.47%, up by 16.02% over 2015.
For the period going from January to July 2017, Taiwan welcomed 5,956,972 visitors, down by 5.15%. While the decline is due entirely to the collapse of tourism from Mainland China (-26%), arrivals from Southeast Asia increased by 39.1%, showing the benefits of implementing the free visa on arrival policy. Southeast Asia generated during the January to July period 1,171,247 arrivals, representing a market share of 19.66%.