Taiwan will take on the growing cruise market by launching a program to simplify the visa application process for travelers visiting the island's ports, an official from Taiwan International Ports Corporation said Friday.
The National Immigration Agency (NIA) and Ministry of Transportation and Communications have recently reached an agreement to outline measures to simplify the visa process for travelers arriving on cruise liners, said Wei Shuo-liang, a spokesman for the Port of Keelung, which is under the management of the company.
The measures will be similar to a visa free program and will not require advanced applications, Wei said, adding that visitors will receive a temporary travel pass onboard after their cruise operators notify NIA of travelers' information.
However, Chinese passengers will not be included in the program, Wei said.
Around 10,000 cruise travelers, mostly from Southeast Asian countries, will benefit from the program, he said.
The number of cruise travelers to Taiwan is expected to increase by 250,000 to 550,000 in 2014, partly as a result of the program, according to the ports corporation.
The company is hoping to turn Taiwan's Keelung and Kaohsiung ports into cruise hubs for Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia, Liu Shih-tsung, vice president of the ration announced earlier this month at Cruise Shipping Miami 2014 trade show.