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New visa application rule increases visitor numbers

Posted on December 21, 2015
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The government’s easing of regulations on visa applications for high-end tour operators in Thailand has received a positive response, the Taiwanese representative office in Thailand said.

Since its launch on Nov. 1, the program has received applications from 800 tourists in 40 groups and the momentum could carry over into the New Year’s holiday, the office said.

The relaxation on applications from what the Tourism Bureau defines as “high-quality” tourist groups from Thailand, Vietnam, India, Indonesia and the Philippines is aimed at boosting the number of visitors from Southeast Asia, it said.

Yuan Kai-chih, section chief of the bureau’s International Affairs Division, said the bureau evaluates tour quality based on experience.

“We review how the operators have been performing, including how many tourists they have sent to Taiwan and if they have violated any laws,” Yuan said.

The program allows tourists who opt for trips organized by those tour operators easier document processing and waives their application fee, Yuan said. However, the visas they receive are no different from those issued to regular tourists. Thai travel agents said they hope Taiwan will further ease travel limits for the country, citing as an example Japan’s visa-waiver program for Thai visitors, which has boosted travel exchanges.

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