By Leslie Gatpolintan
MANILA -- Tourist arrivals in Taiwan and the Philippines are expected to double in the next three years following the former’s decision to grant Filipinos a visa-free entry.
“We are hoping that the number of tourists between our two countries will double in the next three years,” James Huang, chairman of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council, told reporters on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the Taiwan Expo Friday.
Huang considers tourism an important industry for both Taiwan and the Philippines.
He said the tourism business between the two countries soared to a record 70 percent to 80 percent in the past three years.
“I am very, very optimistic once the visa-free program is implemented. Tourists’ ties between our two countries will be further strengthened,” Huang said.
He added that Taiwan’s decision to give Filipinos a visa-free entry can also enhance cultural, economic and trade ties with the Philippines.
Huang said Taiwan Premier Lai Ching-te approved two days ago a visa-free status to citizens of the Philippines.