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First Taiwanese tour group enters Philippines on e-visas

First Taiwanese tour group enters Philippines on e-visas

Kalibo, Philippines, May 20 (CNA) The first Taiwanese tour group traveling on special online visas issued by the Philippines arrived in the neighboring country Wednesday, as the Philippines launched a trial run of the new concession for Taiwan visitors. The group of 13 people, who departed Taiwan earlier in the day, landed at Kalibo International Airport and cleared immigration with an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA), an entry permit that is obtained via an online system and is aimed at making travel to the Southeast Asian country easier. Upon arrival at the airport in central Philippines, the visitors were warmly welcomed by Taiwanese diplomats posted in the Philippines and several Philippine government officials. A member on the tour group lauded the new measure as "very convenient." The Philippines is planning to expand the trial run of the ETA system to other airports in the country, including those in Puerto Princesa, Cebu and Manila, all gateways to the country's most popular tourist destinations. During the trial period, only Taiwanese tour groups selected by the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), the Philippines' representative office in Taiwan, are allowed to visit the Philippines on the new travel permit. If the trial run goes without any glitches, the new measure will be officially launched on July 1, and Taiwanese passport holders will be eligible to apply for the ETA, said Philippines' representative to Taiwan Antonio Basilio, who was at the airport to welcome the first group. With the ETA system, applications and payments for the travel authorization can be done online at any time and location, MECO said. The new measure is part of an effort by the Philippines to boost its tourism and is also expected to help advance its exchanges with Taiwan. The application fee for the online ETA is NT$1,100 (US$35.80), while a normal visitor's visa to the Philippines costs NT$1,200 and requires an in-person visit to MECO offices in Taiwan to submit the application and make the payment. The online application system is for visitor's visas for tourism only. (By Emerson Lim and Elaine Hou)


Updated : 2021-09-17 17:50 GMT+08:00