Taiwan residents, who on lockdown following a rise in COVID-19 cases, likely will be among the last in Asia to travel abroad for vacation, according to tourism industry expert Brenda Hsiuan.

Hsiuan, a senior business development manager for KKday, a Taiwan-based company that allows customers to book travel, tours and activities online, gave a presentation during the Guam Visitors Bureau’s latest digital academy. She provided her assessment on the mood of Taiwan travelers.

More:Vaccine tourism offers hope to visitor industry workers

More:Residents divided over tourism reopening

“I think Korea will be the first one. I know their vaccination situation is going very well,” Hsiuan, said, adding she heard Korea might reach 80% vaccination by September. “They are really ready to go out.”

“I think Taiwan might be the last one that can go outbound,” she said.

Most of Taiwan’s COVID-related deaths happened during the past month. About 3% of Taiwan residents have received at least one dose of vaccine, according to GVB.

In this Jan. 9, 2017, file photo, Tsai Yuan Hui, a tourist from Taiwan, mimics the pose of the mini Statue of Liberty at the Paseo de Susana Park in Hagåtña. Taiwan residents likely will be among the last in Asia to travel abroad for vacation, according to a tourism industry expert.

“We don’t think people will travel abroad before vaccination,” Hsiuan said.

And, after more people are vaccinated, they probably will traveler in smaller groups to nearby destinations, flying three to six hours from Taiwan.

“They will avoid lots of people, and I think small groups will be more flexible,” Hsiuan said.

And because people have been required to stay home during the pandemic, they likely will prefer outdoor activities when on vacation, “rather than being crowded in a museum or (urban) places.”

“This is what we think the post-COVID trend might be,” she said.

In this April 1 file photo, tourists from Taiwan pose for a group photo at the the Republic of Palau's Roman Tmetuchl International Airport. They arrived on a China Airlines flight as part of the world's first tourism "travel bubble" during the pandemic.

Travel bubble

Hsiuan said she was involved in early discussions in connection with the Palau-Taiwan travel bubble. Palau on April 1 started accepting tourists from Taiwan under the program, which required pre-arrival testing and safety precautions while in Palau.

The bubble closed in May, as Taiwan cases started to rise.

Hsiuan said the travel bubble with Taiwan was rushed, with little opportunity to promote it, and many residents were not interested in being part of the experiment. 

“It turns out, really few people want to go,” she said. “Safety is more important. They don’t need to (travel) right away.”

“I don’t think we will ever have the chance to do a travel bubble again,” Hsiuan said. “I know most people might intend to wait until after they get the vaccine.”

CORALVILLE, Iowa (KCRG) -Senéad Short, an Iowa City native, died in a train crash in Taiwan earlier this month. She is missed by those whose lives she touched back home. We are told she was not only a great dancer but a great person.

Short’s love of dancing started young, but it’s the grace she carried off the stage that those who knew her are remembering most.

“As a human in the building, she was something that even I tried to emulate, she walked in with such a mature grace,” said Leslie Nolte, Owner of Nolte Academy in Coralville.

Short attended Nolte Academy for more than a decade.

“A lot of younger dancers looked up to her, not only just because she did dance almost all of our principal roles in the Nutcracker and any of our various ballet productions, but just as a human,” said Jayme Braverman, a friend who grew up dancing with Short.

“It was always ‘How can I help? How can I help?,’ with costuming, with sort of chaperoning children backstage,” Nolte said.

Short continued to help others within the community. She worked for a time at non-profits like Shelter House in Iowa City and CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank who said:

“Senéad Short was a dedicated and extremely hard worker during her time at CommUnity and was able to help many people during their time of need. Senéad had the most calming and reassuring presence. She truly cared about people to her core and it showed. On behalf of all of us at CommUnity, we offer Senéad’s family and friends our most heartfelt condolences and sympathy at this difficult time.”

Short graduated with honors from the University of Iowa in 2018, who said, “With her Fulbright Assistantship Award to Taiwan, she was teaching English in Taipei and offering dance and art lessons to children in the community.”

“I knew she always wanted to give back to when I learned that she was teaching dance in Taiwan in her free time, it’s just such a sense of pride,” Nolte said.

At her studio in Coralville, Nolte plans to offer an annual scholarship in Short’s name for future dance students who travel abroad.

Copyright 2021 KCRG. All rights reserved.

“We’re honored to be a Trusted Testing Partner with the State of Hawai’i. At Ontario Airport, we’re committed to the safety and well-being of our passengers, and throughout the pandemic, we’ve implemented industry-leading health protocols, including our on-site testing clinic. Hawaiian Airlines’ new service to Honolulu has been very popular with ONT passengers, and we look forward to creating even more travel opportunities to the great State of Hawai’i,” said Alan D. Wapner, President of the OIAA Board of Commissioners and Mayor pro tem for the City of Ontario.

It launched with a presidential escort and the promise of rare international travel to a postcard-perfect tropical island, but the Taiwan-Palau travel bubble has deflated after just a couple weeks, with Taiwanese bookings dwindling to single figures.

Travel agents, consumers and health authorities have blamed the high cost of the tours and the Taiwanese government’s strict rules for returning travellers.

The “sterile corridor” of bilateral tourism guaranteed travel between the two archipelagos, which are both otherwise closed to all tourists, on strictly managed, twice-weekly package tours.

The inaugural flight, packed with nearly 100 passengers including Palauan president Surangel Whipps Jr, boded well, but this week China Airlines announced it had cancelled an upcoming flight from Taipei after just two people booked tickets. The airline told the Guardian it was constantly assessing the situation but it couldn’t guarantee further cancellations.

To go on the Palau holiday from Taiwan, tourists must make several health declarations, pay for Covid tests, and not have left Taiwan in the last six months. Upon return they had to complete 14 days of “self-health management”, including five “enhanced” management days banned from public transport and spaces. On Wednesday health authorities announced it was dropping the enhanced requirement, and agencies are hoping it’s enough to restore interest.

One of the six agencies contracted to run the tours, Phoenix travel, told the Guardian they’d had “sporadic” individual bookings and inquiries about future tours, “but the momentum is not as good as expected”.

“The fare is higher than normal, plus the cost of two PCR tests, and the inconvenience of health management after returning home are the reasons why most travellers maintain a wait-and-see attitude,” the spokesperson said.

Taiwanese passengers pay between $2,100 and $2,800 plus associated costs for the group tour which runs for fewer than eight days, keeps the tourists away from crowded locations and local people, and doesn’t allow for autonomous activity.

On Wednesday evening Whipps welcomed the easing and said returnees who didn’t show signs of fever and hadn’t been in the presence of anyone who did, could “go about their daily lives as usual”.

Two-dogs beach in Palau’s Rock Islands.
Two-dogs beach in Palau’s Rock Islands. Photograph: Richard Brooks

Whipps also said costs had also been decreased, but did not detail by how much. He claimed the presence of Tropical Storm Surigae had also affected bookings, but that the two governments were working closely together to improve the bubble.

He said his office had been “assured” that the next scheduled flight on 21 April would have more passengers. The Guardian has contacted the Taiwan government for confirmation of the changes and comment.

Palau has recorded zero cases of Covid, and is on track to have 80% of its population vaccinated by the summer, while about 90% of Taiwan’s 1,062 cases were recently arrived people in quarantine, and there is no community transmission.

The travel bubble was hailed as a lifeline for Palau’s tourism industry, which contributes almost half of its GDP, but had been completely stalled by the pandemic. Taiwanese made

Taiwanese travelers preparing for the April 1 ‘travel bubble’ flight to Palau 

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Barely two weeks after Taiwan and Palau inaugurated their “travel bubble,” China Airlines (CAL) announced it was canceling its April 17 flight due to lack of interest, reports said Tuesday (April 13).

On April 1, Palau President Surangel Whipps, Jr. was one of more than 100 passengers to board CAL’s inaugural flight under the program. His Pacific island nation has not registered a single COVID-19 patient, leading the two countries to do away with compulsory quarantine under certain conditions.

However, interest quickly waned afterward, partly due to the high price of packaged tours and the “strengthened” self-health monitoring requirements imposed by Taiwan, the Liberty Times reported.

Travel agencies initially charged between NT$70,000 (US$2,450) and NT$80,000 for a four-day trip to Palau, though the price has since been reduced to about NT$50,000 thanks to measures by the Palauan government.

The main stumbling block has been Taiwan’s demand that returning travelers spend five days conducting a “strengthened” self-health monitoring period followed by another nine days of monitoring. While children can return to school after the first five days, parents have complained that their children might be looked on with suspicion by teachers and classmates, according to the report.

Since the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) hinted it might relax the rules, many travelers have just postponed their trips from April to May in hopes that the change would be effective by then, travel agents said.

Despite its announced cancelation, CAL is still planning to resume flights from April 21, according to cable station TVBS.

Island News: If It Matters To You, It Matters To Us 

Finding information about traveling to Thailand at this time can be a bit confusing. Suddenly there’s a lot more paperwork and the Thai government keep updating the situation. But the good news is that the Thai government have at least put out a 4-part plan to totally re-open the country by the end of 2021/start of 2022. You also need to work through the vagaries of individual embassies and staff who may sometimes have different interpretations of the latest guidelines. But everyone is trying their best to help you get back to Thailand… so your patience will be rewarded.

For now, you need to consider a few more things than in the past, including the situation in your own country and getting back home after your visit to the Land of Smiles. Currently there are many countries that require quarantine to get back in.

The Thai Government has now endorsed issuing a Covid-19 vaccination certificate in the kingdom (for people having the required doses of approved vaccines), while approving shorter quarantine periods for international arrivals. Both measures take effect from April 1 until further notice.

There is also a current variant of Covid-19 which is causing havoc in some countries and could potentially de-rail the best laid plans.

More re-entry information HERE.

Will I need a visa?

Here’s a list of countries that, as of April 1, do not require a visa for a stay of up to 45 days in Thailand. They are part of the Visa exemption scheme.

Andora, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein. Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Sweden, UAE, UK, USA, Vietnam.

Travellers from other countries – Laos, Macau, Mongolia and Russia – can also stay for 45 days under long-standing relationships whilst travellers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Korea and Peru can stay for up to 90 days.

If you’re not on the list you can apply for a Special Tourist Visa. This allows travellers to enter for a maximum of 90 days, and can be extended for another 90 days, twice, but the STV plan finishes in September this year so you would need to apply before then. Any other visa type will need to be individually discussed with your embassy if your circumstances are exceptional.

The TAT has published this list of 11 different groups that can enter Thailand from April 1…

(1) Thai nationals.

(2) Persons with exemption or persons being considered, permitted or invited by the Prime Minister, or the head of responsible persons accountable for resolving state of emergency issues to enter the Kingdom, pertaining to necessity. Such consideration, permission, or invitation may be subject to specific conditions and time limits.

(3) Persons on diplomatic or consular missions or under International organisations, or representatives


World’s Biggest Wind Farm May Be Answer to Korea’s Net-Zero Dream

(Bloomberg) — The fishing grounds where Jung Kuenbae and his forbears have caught shrimp, butterfish and croakers for three generations are going to be turned into the world’s largest offshore wind farm. He’s OK with that.“I initially opposed the idea when the plan was proposed because it will destroy our livelihood,” said Jung, who leads a group of local fishermen in some 200 ships that drop nets in the waters off the southwestern tip of the Korean peninsula. “But I realized the project is part of the country’s transition to cleaner energy, which is something we have to come to terms with, rather than fighting against it.”The 48.5 trillion won ($42.8 billion) wind farm, to be built over the next decade off the southwest coast of the country, would generate up to 8.2 gigawatts of power, one of a catalog of grand projects the government wants to roll out with private sector backing to meet its ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.It’s a momentous challenge. South Korea’s industrial ascent since the 1960s has made it one of the world’s top 10 energy users, with electricity consumption per capita ahead of both Japan and Germany. And two thirds of that comes from fossil fuels. Renewable energy accounted for only 6.5% of South Korea’s generation in 2019, with nuclear making up the balance.Read More: Before Abandoning Nuke Reactors, S. Korea Will Build Two of Them“South Korea will have to source almost all of its electricity from renewable energy if it’s ever going to reach climate neutrality by 2050,” said Lee Sanghoon, president of the New and Renewable Energy Center at Korea Energy Agency. It “is a daunting task.”Many countries are scaling up wind energy. Developers set a record last year as they installed 96.3 gigawatts of wind turbines globally, according to clean energy research group BloombergNEF. That would be enough to power about 36 million American households. The International Energy Agency estimates that at least 160 gigawatts of wind has to be added per year by 2025 in order to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals.After retaining power last year on the promise of a “Green New Deal,” President Moon Jae-in’s Democratic Party has brought a new urgency to the transition, with a proposal to get more than 20% of its energy from renewables by 2030. For South Korea, it’s not just about curbing emissions. Apart from a tiny amount of gas and coal, all its fossil fuels are imported, costing the nation $73 billion a year.With its conventional hydropower resources almost fully utilized and a climate and topography ill-suited for large solar and onshore wind plants, the country is looking out to sea to solve the problem. It already has the world’s biggest tidal power plant at Sihwa Lake. But the government sees one of its best prospects is to harness 12 GW from offshore wind by 2030, compared with less than 0.2 GW now.The open seas have more

Traditional Palau dancers greeted the first group of tourists from Taiwan.
Traditional Palau dancers greeted the first group of tourists from Taiwan.

KOROR, Palau: Palau’s president has declared the opening of a rare holiday travel bubble with Taiwan as a “ray of light” that shows the world is slowly emerging from the coronavirus pandemic.

After making a promotional visit to Taiwan, President Surangel Whipps escorted about 100 holidaymakers back to the tiny Pacific island nation late Thursday aboard the first tourist flight to land since Palau closed its borders in March last year.

Whipps posed for selfies as traditional dancers greeted the masked visitors, with the charismatic leader saying he was “energised and excited” by the occasion.

“This makes us feel that we can make it through this. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s beginning to get better and we can fight this pandemic,” he told the tourists.

“It should not cripple us, it should not hold us back. We should keep striving to move forward — you being here begins that journey.”

Palau, a nation of about 18,000 people that lies some 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) east of the Philippines, is one of the few places on Earth never to have recorded a Covid-19 case.

But its tourism-reliant economy has been hit hard by the pandemic and when Whipps was elected last November, he prioritised a bubble with Taiwan, which has contained community transmission of the virus.

Despite Taiwan’s coronavirus-free status, strict measures will still be enforced, including testing all tourists before their flight and restricting them to tour groups, with no individual excursions.

To keep contact with Palau locals to a minimum, tourists must stay at designated hotels, eat in separate restaurant areas and shop only at set times.

Whipps acknowledged that enduring an invasive nasal swab was not the best way to start a holiday and said that, over time, some of the rules could be relaxed.

“I know it’s uncomfortable but it’s about keeping people safe,” he said.

The plan is to eventually have 16 flights a week on the route, which Whipps said would help rebuild the economy.

There was also a political element underpinning the travel corridor, with Palau one of only 15 nations that recognises Taiwan over China, despite intense pressure from Beijing to switch sides.

“It’s important we show the world how strong this partnership is,” Whipps said.

The political message was underlined when the US ambassador to Palau, John Hennessey-Niland, accompanied Whipps to Taiwan ahead of Thursday’s flight.

His presence was a rare visit to Taiwan by a serving diplomat and irked China, which views the island of 23 million as part of its territory and has vowed to reclaim it, by force if necessary.

Whipps thanked Hennessey-Niland for joining him and said US-supplied vaccines had been crucial in allowing Palau to open up to Taiwan.

“(We) are grateful for the partnership and the generosity of the US government, which provided the vaccine doses to Palau to make this sterile travel corridor possible,” he said.

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Pandemic-weary Taiwanese tourists headed for the tiny Pacific island nation of Palau following the launch of a coronavirus travel bubble, a recognition of their success in stamping out the pandemic locally.

Passengers must take a PCR test before being allowed to board their flights but will not be required to undergo quarantine.

Taiwanese travel blogger Shih Song-han called the four-day trip a “rare opportunity.”

“It has been a whole year without traveling. It will be whole new experience for every passenger. I also want to show my fans about how open international travel is,” Shih said.

Fellow passenger Josephine Lin said Taiwan’s success battling the pandemic meant she “felt very safe during this recent past period.”

“The situation is the same in Palau. This is why I think this country (Palau) is safe, and I would like to visit it,” Lin said.

Trip organizers created a festive atmosphere, with entertainment and lessons in basic Palau phrases.

Palau President Surangel Whipps, wrapping up a five-day visit to Taiwan, said that safety measures would remain in place to ensure the success of the bubble.

“And we could all have fun. And (tourists) can all return smiling,” Whipps said after all those tested, including himself, declared virus-free.

Taiwanese Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said the bubble was made possible because “both sides have controlled the epidemic well.”

Palau is one of only 15 countries that maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which China claims as its territory with no right diplomatic recognition. China has banned its citizens from visiting Palau.

According to the Tourism Bureau, 96 on board the first tourist flight .