Taiwan ramps up tourism drive in Philippines as borders reopen

Lance Spencer Yu

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Taiwan ramps up tourism drive in Philippines as borders reopen

TOURIST SPOT. Sakura garden in Taipei, Taiwan.


Ambassador Michael Peiyung Hsu hopes that Filipino tourists in Taiwan 'will exceed the pre-pandemic level,' which was more than half a million in 2019 alone

MANILA, Philippines – More than 60 travel agencies mounted a showcase in a five-star Metro Manila hotel on Thursday, October 20, to drum up interest in Taiwan as their nation reopens borders to more tourists.

The travel agencies, including five from Taiwan, along with three Taiwanese airlines, took turns presenting their travel packages and newest planes in a function room at Diamond Hotel, Manila. Offstage, about a hundred guests hopped from table to table to offer calling cards and introduce themselves, seeking to attract hundreds of thousands of Filipinos to visit Taiwan. 

“In the post-pandemic era, travelers seek slower, reflective travel, and more customized experiences, like local, in-depth, and theme-centered packages,” Ambassador Michael Peiyung Hsu of Taiwan said.

This has prompted Taiwan to pivot towards railway tourism, ecotourism, culture tourism, and food tourism. With the expansion of new travel experiences, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office hoped to draw in even more Filipino tourists.

“In 2019, more than half a million Filipinos traveled to Taiwan,” Hsu said. “In the coming year, I sincerely anticipate the number of Filipino tourists in Taiwan will exceed the pre-pandemic level.”

Abe Chou, director of Taiwan Tourism Bureau in Kuala Lumpur, added that since Taipei is only two hours away from Manila, and visa rules have relaxed, “it’s very convenient and easy for Filipinos to visit Taiwan now.”

The event on Thursday, organized by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, came after Taiwan had begun easing its tight travel restrictions. Starting September 29, 2022 until July 31, 2023, Filipinos were allowed to travel to Taiwan visa-free, and could stay up to 14 days. 

Taiwan also recently ended its mandatory quarantine in government facilities. Arriving travelers from October 13 onwards will now undergo a seven-day period of self-monitoring. The “0+7 self-initiated prevention” approach means that travelers will be responsible for testing and reporting any change to their health status.

Upon arrival, travelers will receive four rapid antigen kits. As per government regulations, tourists must self-administer the antigen test on the day of arrival, and every two days after.

For instance, the first test will be taken on arrival, or Day 0. Tests must again be performed on Day 3, 5, and 7 of the visit. No tests are required after the first week. Travelers who test positive must seek medical attention as soon as possible through a telemedicine session. Travelers are also expected to shoulder all medical expenses.

Travelers must also comply with pandemic precautions throughout their stay. While tourists may leave their accommodations during the self-initiated prevention period, they must have a negative rapid test result taken at least two days before going out. Those sharing accommodations must remain the same throughout their stay. Tourists should also avoid dining with local residents, and should follow general guidelines such as mask-wearing indoors and social distancing. – Rappler.com

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Lance Spencer Yu

Lance Spencer Yu is a multimedia reporter who covers the transportation, tourism, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, and corporate sectors, as well as macroeconomic issues.