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July 28, 2017

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First Taiwanese travelers with free Hong Kong e-visas depart

TAIPEI--Two Hong Kong officials bade farewell to hundreds of Taiwanese travelers at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Saturday, extending their best wishes to the first batch of Taiwanese nationals bound for Hong Kong with free electronic visas.

Winnie Shyu, head of the Hong Kong Tourism Board's Taipei office, and Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Culture Office Director John Leung celebrated the historic moment at the airport by handing out gifts to the travelers.

Each gift parcel contains a one-day subway pass and tickets for Hong Kong's Airport Express.

As part of celebrations for the launch of the online visa application program for Taiwanese people, the Hong Kong Tourism Board has prepared many exciting and attractively priced Hong Kong tour packages, which guarantee those joining the tours will have access to gourmet foods, fun tourist attractions and popular shopping spots, Shyu said.

Starting Saturday, Taiwanese nationals can visit Hong Kong with the e-visa, which they can easily get for free online.

The new online visa application service saves applicants NT$500, the price of a Hong Kong visa in the past, and the hassle of giving their documents to travel agents to process the application.

People can enter Hong Kong on a single e-visa twice and stay up to 30 days each time, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Shyu said 2.15 million Taiwanese travelers visited Hong Kong last year, with 16 percent of them making the trip with Hong Kong visas.

With the new e-visa program, she expects the number of Taiwanese visitors to Hong Kong will increase by between 3 and 5 percent in a year.

In addition to the e-visa option, Taiwanese travelers will still be able to enter Hong Kong on their China visas as before.

Describing the new visa program, Leung said the Taiwanese e-visa applicants only have to show inspectors at Hong Kong Customs checkpoints their passports and their printed e-visa application forms to enter the special administrative region of China.

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