More countries could establish travel bubbles with Taiwan: tourism chief

Published (HKT): 2021.04.23 06:45

Taiwan might open travel bubbles with a slate of other countries and regions following the successful launch of a travel bubble with the western Pacific nation of Palau at the start of April, according to officials.

Taiwan’s tourism bureau chief Chang Shi-chung said the government is in earnest talks with Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, the U.S. island of Hawaii, the Philippines and Guam, on possibly reopening borders for tourists. Whether these travel corridors can be established would depend on risk assessments from both ends, and pandemic prevention, said Chang.

The Tourism Bureau of Taiwan indicated that representatives from the Hong Kong Tourism Board had also “exchanged opinions” on travel bubbles, but the latter told Apple Daily that such an exchange did not happen.

Chang said that most countries and regions in Asia-Pacific were interested in discussing travel bubbles with Taiwan, with the six mentioned being the most enthusiastic so far.

After the initial rush, the popularity of Taiwan’s travel bubble with Palau has dampened with only two people signing up for the tour group which left the island on April 21. Chang said the arrangements were still in its infancy, with reviews to be completed on the arrangement. With the upcoming public holidays in late April through May, as well as the impending summer holidays, the tourism sector predicted that the interest for travel would continue to grow.

It remained to be seen on whether quarantine measures can be further relaxed, said Chang. The Taiwan-Palau travel corridor is a first for the island state, and it was important for prevention measures to be strict in order to protect the population. If returning Taiwanese tourists continue to test negative for COVID-19 and Palau continues to have zero infections, the quarantine and preventative measures could be further relaxed.

Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau said representatives from Hong Kong, France, Amman, Japan, Africa Taiwan Economic Forum, Thailand and Spain had all exchanged information on the topic of travel corridors with Taiwan.

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