Tourists are flocking to Taiwan as entry restrictions for Covid have been relaxed

After more than two and a half years of border controls, Taiwan lifted all COVID-19 entry restrictions on Thursday, allowing tourists unrestricted access to the self-ruled island. Throughout the pandemic, Hong Kong and Taiwan, along with mainland China, required most visitors to complete a mandatory quarantine period, even as most countries reopened their borders to tourists.

Visitors are no longer required to quarantine or take any PCR tests upon entry. Instead, they must monitor their health for a week after arrival and obtain a negative result on a rapid antigen test the same day. People who want to go out during the weeklong monitoring period must have a negative test result from that day or the day before.There are no longer any restrictions on certain nationalities entering Taiwan.

Dozens of Thai visitors were among the first under the new rules to arrive at Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport, which serves the capital Taipei, on a Tiger Air flight that landed shortly after midnight.Tourists like 32-year-old Mac Chientachakul and his parents were excited to visit the island.“Hot pot is my favorite dish in Taiwan,” Chientachakul said.

“It’s my first thing to do … I miss it so much.”

According to Sonia Chang, a travel agent, the changes benefit both the tourism industry and Taiwanese residents, who can now travel abroad without having to return to quarantine.

Valaisurang Bhaedhayajibh, a 53-year-old design firm’s business development director, described the new rules as “convenient.”“We don’t have to do the test before coming here, and also after arriving,” he said. “We are still required to do the self-test every two days, and everything has been provided” by Taiwanese authorities, including the rapid testing kits.The travellers from Thailand were greeted by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau’s director, Chang Shi-chung, at a welcome ceremony in the Taoyuan airport’s arrival hall, who handed out gifts.

According to Taiwan’s tourism bureau, 244 tourists from 20 tour groups will arrive on Thursday.With Hong Kong and Taiwan lifting restrictions and welcoming back tourists, mainland China remains one of the few places in the world that is adamant about keeping borders closed and adhering to a “zero-COVID” strategy to eradicate the virus.

Late last month, Hong Kong ended its mandatory quarantine policy for inbound travellers, requiring only a three-day self-monitoring period.

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