Tourists flock to Taiwan as COVID entry restrictions ease


TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan lifted all COVID-19 entry restrictions on Thursday, allowing tourists free access to the autonomous island after more than two and a half years of border controls.

Hong Kong and Taiwan, along with mainland China, have long required most visitors to complete mandatory quarantine periods during the pandemic, even though most countries have reopened their borders to tourists. rice field.

Visitors no longer need to be quarantined or undergo a PCR test upon entry. Instead, they should monitor their health for a week after arrival and obtain a negative rapid antigen test on the day of arrival. If you wish to leave the house during the 1-week monitoring period, a negative test on the same day or the day before is required.

Also, there are no more restrictions on certain nationalities allowed to enter Taiwan.

Dozens of visitors from Thailand were the first to arrive under new rules at Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport, which serves the capital Taipei, on a Tigerair flight that landed just after midnight.

Tourists like 32-year-old Mac Chientachakul and her parents were thrilled to visit the island.

“Hotpot is my favorite dish in Taiwan,” said Chientachakul. “It’s my first…I miss it so much.”

Travel agent Sonia Chang said the change was good for both the tourism industry and Taiwanese residents, allowing them to travel abroad without having to quarantine after returning home.

Valaisurang Bhaedhayajibh, 53, a business development director at the design firm, called the new rules convenient.

“You don’t have to do any testing before you come here, or after you arrive,” he said. “We still have to do a self-test every two days, and everything, including rapid test kits, is provided by the Taiwanese authorities.

During the welcome ceremony at the arrival hall of Taoyuan Airport, the Thai travelers were greeted by Mr. Zhang Si-Chun, Director General of the Taiwan Tourism Board and handed out gifts.

Taiwan’s tourism bureau estimates that a total of 244 tourists from about 20 tour groups will arrive on Thursday.

While both Hong Kong and Taiwan have lifted restrictions and welcomed tourists, mainland China remains one of the few places in the world to keep its borders closed and stick to a ‘zero COVID’ strategy to eradicate the virus. Hong Kong ended its mandatory quarantine policy for inbound travelers late last month, requiring only a three-day self-monitoring period.


Associate Press writer Zen Soo contributed from Singapore.