The National Immigration Agency (NIA) said Wednesday that Hong Kong and Macau residents taking cruise ships to Taiwan will, starting from next year, be able to apply simultaneously for two visas online granting two entries.
Jeff C.C. Yang (???), deputy director-general of the NIA, noted that 140,000 people arrived in Taiwan on board cruise ships this year, with 20,000, or 14.28 percent from Hong Kong and Macau.
There is room for growth, Yang said, noting that cruise ship operators suggested the measure to attract more visitors to Taiwan from Hong Kong and Macau.
Under the current regulation, Hong Kong and Macau residents can apply in person or through a travel agent, or apply online and enter Taiwan once within three months of receiving their visa, Yang said.
However, he noted that over the past few years Hong Kong and Macau residents have increasingly arrived in Taiwan in different ways, including package tours that include travel by airplane, ship and cruises.
Visitors might arrive in Taiwan by boat or plane and then take a cruise to a third destination before returning to Taiwan and then traveling elsewhere, he said.
Embracing this change in travel behavior, the NIA will start accepting applications for two entry visas online from Hong Kong and Macau residents on tours from Jan. 1, 2017.
This new arrangement recognizes the fact that Taiwan is the mid-point of their travel itinerary, Yang said.
The Ministry of Interior said the new measure for Hong Kong and Macau residents will also help Taiwan in its bid to become a key port of call for international cruise operators, while promoting the development of port cities and peripheral tourism.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel