June 21, 2019 at 08:35 pm
Othel V. Campos
Philippine tourism arrivals in Taiwan increased 44 percent in 2018 from a year ago, according to data on the top 10 countries visiting Taiwan released recently by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau.
Taiwan received 13,000 more tourists from the Philippines in the first quarter of 2019 from the same period last year because of the extension of the visa-free entry offered by Taiwan to select countries.
“We’ve found that more and more Filipino friends are visiting Taiwan. Last year we had 420,000 Filipino tourists come to our country. This year our target is 500,000,” said Taipei Economic & Cultural Office economic division director Alfred Wang during the Meet Taiwan Networking Event held Friday at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel in Makati City.
Top players from Taiwan’s Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conferences, Exhibitions industry travels, including travel agencies, venues, hotels, city government and public relations agencies introduced the country’s many incentive provisions to local travel groups and businesses.
As a result of the steady growth of Filipino tourists flocking to Taiwan, TECO hopes to continue strengthening relations between the Philippines and Taiwan through a possible extension of the visa-free policy for Filipinos that was first implemented on a trial basis from November 2017 to July 2018. The policy was extended until July 31, 2019.
Wang said the Taiwanese government’s official announcement on the possible extension of the Philippines’ current visa-free status might be expected by the public in about two weeks, after a process of re-evaluation.
Taiwan’s MICE program also received a large boost from the Filipinos’ visa-free privilege.
According to data of the Philippine Statistics Authority, Taiwan was the Philippines’ eighth largest trading partner, 10th largest export market, eighth biggest source of imports in 2017, as well as, the eighth biggest foreign direct investor in 2018.