TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is currently discussing “travel bubbles” with five countries, Transportation Minister Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said Wednesday (March 10).
During a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan, Lin revealed that the Tourism Bureau has been in talks with Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam since late last year about setting up bilateral travel corridors with a shortened quarantine. Of these four countries, Singapore has had the most success containing the pandemic and is pursuing the proposal the most actively, he said.
Meanwhile, a much-anticipated “travel bubble” between Taiwan and its diplomatic ally Palau is on the brink of materializing. Reports confirmed Wednesday that Palauan President Surangel Whipps, Jr. will make his first official visit on the first flight to Taiwan after bilateral tourism is established.
When asked if he and Tourism Bureau Director-General Chang Hsi-chung (張錫聰) would be willing to lead the first tour group to Palau, Lin said that decision is up to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). However, he promised that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) is prepared to comply with all government guidelines to facilitate overseas travel.
In a press interview later that day, the head of Taiwan’s Travel Agent Association, Hsiao Po-jen (蕭博仁), explained that the MOTC, MOFA, and Central Epidemic Command Center are all involved in the negotiations for bilateral tourism with other countries. While it is good to explore available options, the decision-making process can be extremely time-consuming, he remarked.
Transportation and Communications Minister Lin Chia-long. (CNA photo)