taiwan reopening borders to tourism

Taiwan started opening borders for tourism on April 1 via travel bubbles

Taiwan is reopening for tourism via its first travel bubble starting on April 1. These travelers will still need to apply for a special entry permit.

All visitors need to submit a negative PCR COVID-19 test result and quarantine for 14 days at a government-approved hotel.

Residents are allowed to quarantine at home only if they can prove they live by themselves. 

The country has been opened for essential-travel only. Tourism remains banned but reopening for vaccinated travelers is on the table.

According to a recent press release, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is willing to gradually adjust regulations regarding foreign nationals’ entry into Taiwan “in accordance with decisions and standards set by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).”

If reaching a regional consensus, travelers would not need to quarantine. 

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Taiwan reopening for tourism - Travel restrictions

April 8 

Unlike other multiple countries that have promised to open their borders or, at least, travel bubbles for its citizens to visit other places and don’t actually do it, Taiwan has done exactly as it said.

On April 1, Taiwan used for the very first time the “travel bubble”, the country and government of Palau had agreed a few weeks ago. This is a great milestone for a country that has been extremely reluctant to reopen for tourism. The first flight carried 100 tourists including the Palau’s president and his wife.

“We are opening this travel bubble in hopes of boosting tourism and economic activities for both (sides) while preventing the spread of Covid-19.” Said the Taiwanese Health Minister Chen Shih-chung.

March 21 – Taiwan opens its first travel bubble

Starting April 1, Palau nationals will be the first citizens allowed to visit Taiwan for tourism after a year of closure. 

The negotiations started back in October but the Palau’s government was unsure about Taiwan’s management of the pandemic. Palau is one of the very few countries in the world with 0 coronavirus cases. 

According to the Taiwanese Health Minister Chen Shih-chung “we are opening this travel bubble in hopes of boosting tourism and economic activities for both (sides) while preventing the spread of Covid-19.” Thus, strict biosecurity measures are expected to be announced over the next few days. 

February 25

Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), has officially announced that Taiwan will allow foreign nationals who are not residents of Taiwan from March 1, 2020.

However, tourism remains banned and these visitors will need to apply for a special entry permit. Additionally, transferring passengers will be also allowed to travel through the country if they take the same airline group’s flight and the layover lasts less than 8 hours. 

Vaccination rollout

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced on Feb. 19, that the country has secured nearly 20 million of Pfizer’s vaccine doses. The vaccination rollout is set to start by 2nd quarter of 2021.

February 4

Health Minister Chen Shih-Chung has stated that the government is currently working on a plan to reopen borders through a new system. In order to be granted access, visitors will need to agree to the following requirements:

  • Bring confirmation that they had received a two-shot coronavirus vaccine
  • Bring proof of a negative Covid-19 test 
  • Other conditions (not released just yet)

Current restrictions and entry requirements to enter Taiwan

Taiwan reopening for tourism - Travel restrictions
  • All allowed visitors

Taiwan requires travelers to present a certificate, in English, of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within three working days before arrival. They also need to observe a 14-day quarantine at a government-approved facility or home if they live alone.

During this self-isolation time, local health officials will call them to check in on them and record their information on a Health Status Record form.

  • International students 

Pan Wen-chung, Taiwan’s Ministry of Education, has informed that these students can either quarantine at the government-approved centers or at government-accepted hotels. 

If a student chooses the former option, the school will have to pay (US$50) per day to the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) three days in advance of check-in. There is also a third option that relies on quarantine centers or dormitories provided by private schools, also approved by local health officers.  

Which countries are allowed to enter Taiwan?

Keep in mind that given the emphasis on imported cases, Taiwan has been keeping an eye on the COVID-19 situation around the globe and it’s only opening its borders for a reduced number of passports and for a limited number of reasons.

List of allowed countries/regions

List of low-risk countries/regions: (Current at April 8)

  • Australia
  • Bhutan
  • Brunei
  • East Timor
  • Fiji
  • Laos
  • Macao
  • Mauritius
  • Nauru
  • New Zealand
  • Palau
  • The Marshall Islands

List of medium-risk countries/regions:

  • Cambodia
  • Singapore
  • Vietnam
Taiwan reopening for tourism - Travel restrictions

COVID-19 situation in Taiwan

As of April 8, Taiwan is still keeping the numbers of COVID-19 cases very low. The territory has reported 1,050 positive COVID cases and only 10 deaths.

What is Taiwan’s current political situation?

Taiwan is a relatively small island inhabited by almost 24 million people. In practical terms, it has operated as an independent territory from China since the end of the Civil War in 1950. 

However, the Chinese government has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since 1949. Due to this situation, China requests other nations not to have direct diplomatic relationships with the island.

Taiwan had already had enough to worry about regarding its context of political uncertainty and growing social unrest when the hardest pandemic recorded in a century happened to break right at its door in the city of Wuhan, China. 

It is of no surprise that Taiwan’s economy and flourishing tourism industry took a hit, as most of the world did,  being forced to close its borders and strictly police commercial activity.

Taiwan

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