Tourism boosts growing Philippines-Taiwan relations


THE Taiwan Tourism Bureau, in cooperation with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines (Teco), sponsored the 2017 Taiwan Tourism Workshop on July 5, showcasing the country’s latest tourism developments and initiatives, allowing different industries to take part in these endeavors.

The workshop featured a “Travel Mart” and presentations from different Taiwanese and Filipino partner institutions.

Lin addresses the audience
during the workshop

In attendance were Teco representatives and Taiwan Ambassador to the Philippines Dr. Gary Song-Huann Lin, Minister James Chu and Director for the Press Division Jerry Chuang. Also present were Taiwan Tourism Bureau Deputy Officer Chen Yi-Ting, Taiwan Visitors Association Deputy Secretary-General Wang Fu-Min and Department of Information and Tourism of the Taipei City Government Sub-Section Chief Lee Yi-Hsuan. Lin gave a welcome speech during the event’s dinner, highlighting the growing relationship between the Philippines and Taiwan and how tourism can boost this relationship to even greater heights.

He stated that both nations tend to overlook each other over the years despite their geographical closeness, only being separated by a two-hour flight.

According to him, “It is time for the Philippines and Taiwan to solidify [their] traditionally long-standing friendship.”

The Taiwan government had already done its part by currently easing the entry of Filipinos into Taiwan, through its visa-liberalization initiatives. He mentioned that once all preparations have been completed, the Taiwanese government is expected to make a formal announcement in September, indicating the exact date to grant the visa-free access treatment for all Filipinos.

Along with the recently implemented “New Southbound Policy”, where the Philippines on the top priority list, Lin believes these actions will help strengthen the two countries’ “comprehensive relationship” along with the Asean, New Zealand, Australia and the South Asian Nations.

He believes these joint efforts “will not only enhance…trade and investments but also strengthen our exchanges of culture, education, people to people and tourism”.

To him, “this is the best time for our two nations to partner together” and encourage traveling to each other’s country.

Lin assured his office and the Taiwanese government will always extend welcoming hands and have a place for their Filipino “brothers and sisters”.

Visa-free access

MEANWHILE, the Taiwanese government is expected to make formal announcement in September, indicating the exact date of the visa-free entry for Filipinos to Taiwan.

The Taiwanese government earlier announced its plans to ease the entry of Filipinos into the said coutnry through its visa-liberalization initiatives.

However, Lin said their government will only make an announcement “once all preparations have been completed”.

The Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs earlier postponed the visa-free access initially set for June due to some technical problems.

PHL ecozone, tallest building

ON another development, the Taiwan-based Xiang Lu Dragon Group is eyeing to erect the largest economic zone and tallest building in the Philippines, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) Director General Charito B. Plaza said.

During the Maritime Silk Road China-Philippines Business Opportunities Conference, Plaza said the group is looking to develop a 3,000-hectare economic zone and construct an 85-story building.

On the sidelines of the event, Plaza told reporters that the Xiang Lu Group aims to invest $360 billion (P18.2 trillion) for the economic zone that will rise in Pangasinan, and about P12 billion for an information-technology building in Manila.

Plaza mentioned that the group, owned by Y.H. Chen, is the developer of the largest economic zone in Xiamen, China, and owner of the second-tallest building in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

According to the investment promotion agency, the amount will cover the development of the economic zone and the investments of the locators.

Plaza said a petrochemical facility will be part of the first phase of the economic zone. The Xiang Lu Group owns the Dragon Aromatics, a petrochemical business in China.

The Peza chief added the economic zone in Pangasinan, covering 10 cities and municipalities, will be a mixed-use facility as the company also targets to bring in cement, tourism and other locators from various sectors. Plaza said the company will hold discussions with the province’s mayors whose areas will be covered by the 3,000-hectare economic zone.

Moreover, she said, the group has already purchased the land beside Diamond Hotel in Roxas Boulevard, Manila for the P12-billion information-technology building.

She added that the company is currently preparing for its application to Peza. Kris M.Crismundo/Azer Parrocha/PNA PR


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