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'US-Taiwan Connect' portal comes at right time: AIT

TAIPEI--The launch of a new “U.S.-Taiwan Connect” portal comes at the right time, an official at the American Institutein Taiwan (AIT) said yesterday at the introduction of the website, amid expectations of tourism growth between the two countries.

Alan Tousignant, chief of economic section at AIT, said the website comes at “a very opportune time,” as the institute expects that admitting Taiwan to the U.S. visa-waiver program will make the U.S. a more popular destination for Taiwanese travelers.

The AIT is also promoting a U.S. national travel and tourism strategy, and Taiwan's inclusion in the visa-waiver program provides a golden opportunity for more company-to company and people-to-people exchanges, he said.

The new website is expected to further encourage travel to the United States because it will feature information on traveling in the country, including details on over 150 cities in the U.S. on the site's “sister cities” page, that gives Taiwanese travelers more destination options.

The AIT is the de facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Taiwan's inclusion in the visa waiver program, making it the 37th participant in the program.

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