Taoyuan International Airport in Taiwan. Photo: iStock.

The Taiwanese government looks set to extend its visa-free policy for nationals from Russia, Thailand, the Philippines and Brunei for another year.

Initially, the program for the four countries was set to expire on July 31 this year, CNA reported. But Minister Chang Ching-sen said the government had approved an extension of the scheme.

The decision was made during a meeting when officials overseeing national security, immigration, tourism, the economy and other relevant sectors discussed the move.

However, a final decision on the proposal will ultimately be made by the Cabinet, Chang stressed.

The visa-free program allows foreign citizens to enter Taiwan for up to 14 days as part of the government’s attempt to increase visitor numbers. According to official numbers from the Tourism Bureau, the program has helped with the objective.

In 2017, citizens from 18 New Southbound Policy partner countries made a total of 2.28 million visits to Taiwan — an increase of 27.6% from the 1.79 million visits made in 2016.

In addition, visitors from the Philippines also rose by about 12.5% in the first quarter of 2019 compared to last year’s figure.

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