taiwan reopening borders to tourism

Taiwan is Reopening Borders in October

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.

We could say 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.

Before the pandemic struck, Taiwan was reportedly increasing the number of tourists each year. The news outlet Focus Taiwan indicated that in 2019 tourism on the island was increasing even after China’s attempts to boycott it. Japan, South Korea and other Southeast Asian, South Asian and Australasian countries, along with China, made up most of the registered visitors. 

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Reopening vision – Is Taiwan already open for business and tourists?

Although the Taiwanese government has not recently mentioned any tourism reopening plan for the near future, on September 1st Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) reportedly confirmed a mutual agreement between Taiwan and Japan to allow their nationals to travel between the two islands for business-related activities. This new policy is confirmed to take effect on September 8. 

Back in May, the same Ministry announced a perhaps too optimistic plan to open their borders to international tourism no later than October 5th. However, there haven’t been recent updates confirming or modifying this information and the day is closing in.

On the other hand, there are indications that the case for reinstating their international tourism policies is getting weaker now that a few neighboring countries like South Korea have moved from Taiwan’s official list of medium-risk countries to that of high-risk countries given their recent spikes in Coronavirus cases.

What are the current restrictions and entry requirements in Taiwan?

  • 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 and, according to American Institution in Taiwan, they will be demanded to observe a 14-day home quarantine period.

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

  • International students 

The situation for foreign students seeking to get a degree in Taiwan is probably not ideal since all of them must go under a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.

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 the student chooses the former option, the student’s 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.

The latest update (26 August) posted on Taiwan’s CDC official website, shows the list of eligible countries/regions allowed entrance.

List of low-risk countries/regions:

  • Marshall Islands (RECENTLY ADDED),
  • Australia (RECENTLY ADDED),
  • Vietnam (RECENTLY ADDED),
  • New Zealand,
  • Macao,
  • Palau,
  • Fiji,
  • Brunei,
  • Thailand,
  • Mongolia,
  • Bhutan,
  • Laos,
  • South Korea (RECENTLY REMOVED),
  • Myanmar (RECENTLY REMOVED),
  • Sri Lanka,
  • Nauru,
  • East Timor,
  • Mauritius.

List of medium-risk countries/regions:

  • Malaysia (RECENTLY REMOVED),
  • Sri Lanka (RECENTLY REMOVED),
  • Cambodia,
  • Singapore,
  • Hong Kong (RECENTLY ADDED).

Current pandemic situation in Taiwan – OCT 15

Since Sept 20 only 23 new cases were confirmed in Taiwan. That makes it 530 in total. Most of them were reported as cases of nationals returning home from China, France, or the Philippines. (Source: Wikipedia)

Sept. 20th

As of September 20th, Taiwan is still keeping the numbers of COVID case very low! There are 507 positive COVID cases and only 7 registered deaths. (source)

Sept. 4th

The Center for Disease and control stated on a press release on Sept 2  “Of 489 confirmed cases in Taiwan, 397 are imported; 55 are indigenous; 36 are naval” which explains their interest in keeping a strict grip on who is allowed to enter the country. The strategy seems to be working because over the last month, the death tolls have been reducing to the point of reaching 0 per day.

Conclusion

If you are interested in discovering the beauty of this amazing place we encourage you to stay tuned for our updates. Even though Taiwan hasn’t opened its borders to tourism yet, it is making great progress at becoming COVID-19 free, and with its beautiful landscapes, welcoming people and exciting destinations it will surely be worth the wait.