Prior to the devastating pandemic that began in 2020, Taiwan was a cosmopolitan tourist destination
TAIWAN: Taiwan began welcoming tourists on Thursday after finally lifting COVID-19 quarantine restrictions, with cuddly toy black bears given to the first tour group that arrived after midnight.
The country had maintained some of its entry and quarantine rules while several parts of Southeast Asia relaxed or lifted them entirely. However, in June, it relaxed its quarantine rules slightly by reducing the isolation period to three from seven previously.
Despite the fact that Taiwan has reported nearly seven million domestic cases since the beginning of this year, the government has rallied for a smooth re-opening, stating that life must return to normal, especially given high vaccination rates.
The government welcomed the first arrivals benefiting from the end of quarantine on a flight from Bangkok to Taoyuan, Taiwan’s main international airport outside Taipei.
Tourists posed for photos amid a swarm of media and officials, they were greeted by Tourism Bureau Director-General Chang Shi-Chung as they stepped off the plane. “This is a chance to revitalise and rebuild cross-border tourism,” Chang told reporters.
Tidarat Tor-Ekbundit, a tourist from Thailand, said she wasn’t worried about COVID-19. “Not only Taiwan but every country, we have to adjust ourselves to live with COVID,” she said.
Some rules remain, however; for example, incoming tourists need to monitor their health seven days after arriving and perform rapid tests on themselves.
Taiwan’s two main carriers, China Airlines Ltd (2610.TW) and Eva Airways Corp (2618.TW), have increased flight capacity, restoring capacity on routes cut during the pandemic and planning new services to cities such as Da Nang in Vietnam.
Taiwanese citizens and foreign tourists have not been prohibited from departing or entering, or even re-entering during the pandemic but had to quarantine at home or in the hotel for about 14 days.
Prior to the devastating pandemic that began in 2020, the country was a cosmopolitan tourist destination that attracted visitors from Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia, who were drawn to the island nation’s cuisine and natural beauty.
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