Taipei, Taiwan, a popular destination for tourists from the Philippines. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Taiwan Tourism Bureau said the country aims to attract more than 500,000 Filipino tourists this year. Abe Chou, the director of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau for Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei, said more than 400,000 Filipino tourists went to Taiwan in 2018, double the number in 2017, the Philippine News Agency reported.

Chou said due to the visa-free policy for Filipinos that was implemented in November 2017, the number of tourists increased from 290,784 in 2017 to 419,105 last year. Chou said the visa policy, which runs from November 1, 2017, to July 31 this year, will be reviewed for a further extension in a bid to reach the goal of 500,000 Filipino tourists.

“We hope that the visa relations can extend and that we reach 500,000 tourists from the Philippines this year. Every Filipino who comes to Taiwan for the first time always goes to Taipei. The Philippines is very near, so we wish they would visit different cities in Taiwan,” Chou said.

Chou said airlines from Taiwan and the Philippines were also opening more routes from various cities. China Airlines is set to open flights from Taichung, a metropolitan area in central Taiwan, to Manila on April 1.

“We now have more direct flights to the southern part of Taiwan,” he said. The visa-free policy for Filipinos allows them to stay in Taiwan for 14 days.

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