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Airline ticket sales from Taiwan to Southeast Asia surge in June

Taiwanese travelers also show rising interest in Japan, South Korea for early 2023

A beach on the Thai island of Phuket in 2021. 

A beach on the Thai island of Phuket in 2021.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The sale of airline tickets between Taiwan and Southeast Asia surged by 57% in June compared to May as more countries in the region relaxed their COVID border restrictions, a travel agency said Friday (July 8).

Taiwan itself on June 15 cut the number of quarantine days for arrivals from overseas to three, followed by four days of self-health monitoring. On Thursday (July 7), the country announced that starting on July 14, Taiwanese citizens, foreigners with residency certificates, and transit passengers would no longer need to present the results of a PCR test taken within 48 hours before boarding a flight to Taiwan.

Lion Travel said the surge in ticket sales for Southeast Asia was partly based on the reopening of Thailand for international travel. On July 1, Thailand ended the requirement for visitors to buy COVID-19 insurance and to download a special app before arriving. Earlier, the country did away with quarantine and testing requirements, while even the wearing of masks is no longer compulsory, though still recommended.

According to Lion Travel, Thailand is the destination where the cost of plane tickets, hotel rooms, and domestic transportation has shown the lowest increases since the pandemic, CNA reported. In addition, the Thai currency, the baht, has depreciated to 36.35 to the U.S. dollar, the lowest level in almost seven years, partly offsetting local price rises.

In 2019, the last full year before the pandemic, more than 39 million travelers visited Thailand, while the government expects a maximum of nine million to visit during 2022.

Looking further into the future, Taiwanese interest in Japan and South Korea was booming for travel near the end of 2022 and during the Lunar New Year holiday in early 2023, per CNA.