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Travel sector expects US tourism surge in Nov.

The China Post news staff--Travel agencies are offering low-price U.S. tour packages in anticipation of when Taiwan tourists will be able to begin traveling to the United States visa-free in November.

Some packages, which are to be offered at an upcoming travel fair in Taipei, will be as low as NT$39,000 for a nine-day tour. The standard price should be around NT$70,000, the United Evening News said.

Insiders from Taiwan's tourism sector said they are optimistic about sales for U.S.-bound travel during the upcoming travel fair, thanks to the U.S. visa waiver program (VWP), according to the Central News Agency (CNA).

CNA cited Lion Travel Service Co. and South East Travel Service Co. as saying that travel to the U.S. is expected to surge by 10 to 30 percent.

They said travelers will be encouraged by the fact that they will not have to go through the complicated visa application process and pay the high application fee under the new scheme.

“It is a relief for people who travel frequently between Taiwan and the U.S.,” said Eddie Yen, managing director of Discover America Committee, according to CNA. The committee is devoted to Taiwan-United States travel exchanges.

The 2012 Taipei International Travel Fair, the largest of its kind in Taiwan, will take place Oct. 26-29, with more than 1,000 booths and 60 countries currently registered to participate.

Last year's event attracted about 250,000 visitors and created NT$1.5 billion (US$50 million) worth of revenue. This year it is expected to deliver even more results, said the Taiwan Visitors Association, the organizing body.

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Organizers and representatives from participating companies pose for a picture at a press conference to promote the upcoming 2012 Taipei International Travel Fair (Taipei ITF), in Taipei, yesterday. (Akie Ang, The China Post)

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