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May 30, 2017

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Ministry to continue visa-free policies for Southeast Asian countries

The Foreign Ministry is expected to continue a policy granting visa-free access to tourists from Thailand and Brunei after seeing significant growth in visitors numbers to Taiwan from the countries. Discussion toward increasing the scope of the policy to encompass more ASEAN member states will also be discussed in April.

According to government statistics in the period of August to December 2016, visitors from 18 countries in Southeast Asia increased by 150,000 year on year. Tourists from Cambodia increased by 153 percent year on year, while Thailand increased by 81 percent and Brunei by 62 percent.

In a report to the Legislative Yuan, Winston Chung, deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affair's Bureau of Consular Affairs, said that the policy was "implemented so well that of course it should be continued." Starting in late July 2016, citizens from Thailand and Brunei were exempt from obtaining visas when traveling to Taiwan for no more than 30 days.

Chung said that the policy would most likely be extended by a further year after its trial period ends this July.

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