Travel industry criticizes sluggish visa-on-arrival progress
By Chi-hao James Lo ,The China Post
March 6, 2014, 12:10 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Andy Lew (盧冠群), Taiwan manager of Star Cruises, has criticized the progression of the government to loosen visa regulations for cruisers to be sluggish, depriving the country itself of tourism opportunities which looks to benefit the local economy.
The cruise tourism industry in Asia has never been more thriving then it has in the last decade. With investments predominantly from Genting Group in Malaysia, various ships have been purchased and refurbished to provide Asian tourists and gamblers an opportunity to experience the otherwise expensive mean of luxury enjoyed by richer countries in the west, to become one of the largest fleet at sea.
Following frictions with authorities back in 2009 regarding the company's application to operate between Keelung and Xiamen, Lew has once again criticized the policy making nature of local authorities.
With the Superstar Virgo to carry passengers on 31 cruises between Hong Kong and Taiwan, Lew has urged the Tourism Bureau to expedite the process of opening Visa-on-arrival regulations to potential tourists from Middle-Eastern and Southeast Asian countries as well as Russia. By deny such patrons with high spending powers, Taiwan is looking to pass on an economic opportunity.
Lew has also stated that this will not be the first time where visa problems have forced the company to reconsider their navigating route, citing a recent booking from 1200 clients from India as an example, where the company has been forced to consider Vietnam as an alternative option should the visa situation remain unresolved.