Windfall for Thai travel agencies from Taiwan’s visa-free rule

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Thailand’s out-bound travel agents are expected to reap a windfall from Taiwan’s recent announcement to ease travel restriction by allowing peoples from Thailand and Brunei to visit Taiwan without visa for up to 30 days beginning August 1.

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Mr Surawat Akaraworamat, managing director of KTK Tour Enterprise, said that he expected the number of Thai tourists visiting Taiwan to double as a result of the visa-free announcement.

Meanwhile, Mr Kritchanat Meesamran, managing director of Sun Smile Holiday and Travel Company, predicted fierce competition among travel agents to attract tourists to use their services.

He noted that, previously, applying for a visa to Taiwan is time consuming and this has discouraged many Thais from visiting the country. With the visa requirement lifted, he said many Thai tourists will make last-minute travel plan changes in order to visit Taiwan.

The visa-free rule will be in place for just one year as a trial period to find out the consequences. However, Taiwan’s tourism officials the new rule will increase the number of tourists from Southeast Asia by 280,000 for the one-year period and bringing in an addition of 13 billion Taiwanese dollars in tourism-related revenue.

Mr David Sao, director of Taiwan Tourism Office for Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei, disclosed that the number of Thais visiting Taiwan has increased 40 percent since this year compared to the same period last year, representing the highest growth among Southeast Asian countries.