Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Tourism

Taiwan to End Quarantine for Inbound Arrivals From October 13

2 months ago

In the latest round of easing travel restrictions, tourists coming in to Taiwan will not be asked to undergo mandatory Covid-19 quarantine from October 13, the ministry of health and welfare announced on Thursday.

From October 13, inbound arrivals to Taiwan would require to self-monitor for seven days instead of undergoing mandatory quarantine.

While the government has scrapped the requirement for polymerase chain reaction tests for inbound travelers, passengers aged two and above would receive four rapid test kits on arrival and are advised to test on the day of arrival or the next day.

Travelers seeking to step out during the seven-day self-monitoring period would be required to take a rapid antigen test.

While opening borders to travelers from all countries, the government has also raised the weekly limit for international visitors from 60,000 to 150,000, and announced the resumption of group tours.

On September 12, Taiwan restored visa-free entry for visitors from 54 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and diplomatic allies. From Thursday onwards, 11 more countries were included in the visa exemption list, which includes Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Following last week’s announcement of the Mainland Affairs Council, entry requirements for select categories of Chinese, Hong Kong, and Macau nationals have also been relaxed from Thursday onwards.

Even as many Asian destinations have scrapped most of the Covid-19 related entry restrictions, Taiwan had resorted to a strong zero-Covid policy for more than two years, where arrivals were still required to undergo a mandatory three-day quarantine at home or at a hotel, followed by four days of self-monitoring.

Taiwan had also banned inbound and outbound tour groups for more than two years.

Tourism

Japan Looks to Resume Visa Waiver For Some Countries From October

3 months ago

As Japan learns to live with the virus, the government has indicated plans to ease all travel restrictions in the “not-so-distant future,” which according to the local media could be as early as next month.

The relaxation in entry restrictions would entail putting an end to the entry ban on independent tourists, removing the daily arrival cap and restoring the pre-pandemic visa waiver for short-term visitors from 68 countries, including the U.S.

Announcing the government’s intention to relax restrictions, Seiji Kihara, the deputy chief cabinet secretary, had said this week that Japan should not fall behind other destinations in attracting foreign tourists.

Speaking at a meeting on Wednesday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has also talked about strengthening Japan’s earning power by taking advantage of the yen’s weakness, which is currently at a 24-year low against the dollar.

A weak yen would make the country an attractive destination for foreign travelers.

Japan recently raised the daily arrival cap of inbound tourists to 50,000 from 20,000. However, even this increment is only around 45 percent of the pre-pandemic daily average arrival of 140,000 travelers.

Earlier this month, the Japanese government removed mandatory pre-arrival Covid tests for visitors, provided they are able to submit proof of being vaccinated thrice. It has also scrapped the requirement for guides on group tours.

While Japan has been easing restrictions in a phased manner even since it reopened to foreign tourists in June, travelers are still required to apply for a short-term visa and need to enter the country as part of approved package tours through a recognized travel agency.

Tourism

Taiwan to Resume Visa-Free Entry for Canada, U.S. and Allies from Next Week

3 months ago

Taiwan will be reinstating visa-free entry for visitors from U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Europe and its “diplomatic allies,” from September 12.

However, visitors would still need to quarantine at home for three days and would need to get tested on arrival. The current cap of 50,000 inbound passengers per week would also remain in place. The prevention measures issued by the Taiwan government also includes four days of self-health monitoring for inbound arrivals.

Taiwan plans to extend the visa exemption to more countries. Inbound group tours are still not allowed in the country.

In June, Taiwan shortened the duration of home isolation to three days from seven days, while increasing the cap on inbound arrivals to 25,000 per week. From August 15 onwards, the country lifted its requirement for a pre-arrival polymerase chain reaction test from inbound arrivals. 

Monday’s announcement of the resumption of visa-free free entry by Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center signals the country’s efforts to relax restrictions put in place during Covid while keeping pace with reopening mesaures of Asian destinations.

The center highlighted the need to balance disease prevention efforts and promotion of economic and social activities.

The decision has been made after a comprehensive assessment and in light of the fact that most countries in the world have opened their borders, Victor Wang, head of the Central Epidemic Command Center, said during a press conference on Monday afternoon.

“Border control measures and epidemic prevention measures would be adjusted in a rolling manner depending on the changes in the epidemic situation,” the Taiwan government noted in a statement.

Even as Taiwan has been slowly relaxing restrictions for inbound arrivals, escalating differences with China has had a bearing on its tourism industry.

Sparked by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last month, China, in its biggest-ever military drills in the Taiwan Strait, had deployed scores of planes and fired live missiles near Taiwan.

Some airlines had cancelled flights to Taipei and rerouted others using nearby airspace that had been closed to civilian traffic during these military exercises. While the airspace involved had been comparatively small, but the disruption had hampered travel between Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia.

An earlier Skift story had also highlighted that the Taiwan tensions could drive up travel costs significantly.

Tourism

Thailand Ups Visa Game by Granting Longer Stays to Tourists and Digital Nomads

3 months ago

Keen to offer a boost to the country’s tourism sector, Thailand will allow longer stays for foreign tourists from October 1 to March 31. The Southeast Asian destination has also proposed a 10-year golden visa program mainly targeted at wealthy digital nomads.

Foreign arrivals from 18 countries entering Thailand under the visa-on-arrival scheme, including India, will be allowed to extend their stay from 15 days to 30 days, while those from 50 countries, including Canada, U.S. and UK, who are currently eligible for a 30-day visa on arrival will be able to get a 45-day visa stamp.

From September onwards, Thailand will also be extending a 10-year golden visa option to four categories of travelers with an annual income of $80,000 and at least $1 million in assets. The visa also comes with a work permit and travelers would not need a Thai sponsor to live long-term in the country. 

The processing fee for the 10-year visa with multiple entries is around $1382.

The Thai government expects the 10-year residence visa to generate around $27 billion worth of revenue.

The visa extension is crucial as Thailand prepares to transition to a post-pandemic era with the return to normalcy. The visa programs are also timed perfectly with the Thai government planning to declare Covid-19 endemic in October.

Thailand plans to welcome around 10 million tourists this year and has been working hard to lure tourists back to the country. In its latest effort, Thailand had been looking to legalize casinos.

Thailand’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration will also meet next month to consider lifting the state of emergency, put in place to control the spread of the disease since March 2020.

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