"With the view that traveling is the most fun way to enhance mutual understanding between Taiwan and Indonesia, Taiwan has implemented several initiatives in order to attract more Indonesian people to travel to Taiwan in the past few years," Head of the Taiwan Economic and Trade Office (TETO) Jakarta, John Chen, told Antara at a Taiwan tourism promotion event here, Monday night (Oct 1).
He explained that Taiwan specifically facilitates a regulation on visa applications for Indonesian citizens.
Since 2017, Indonesians, who hold permanent residence permits issued by Taiwan (work visas excluded), the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Britain, or Schengen Agreement signatories, or are the holders of a visa or valid residence permits from one of these countries that is valid or that expired within 10 years of the date of expected arrival in Taiwan, and who have no record of violating Taiwan`s law, can apply for an online visa on the website of the Immigration Department of the Taiwan Ministry of Interior.
"We also increase the level of our halal tourism in Taiwan," Ambassador Chen noted.
According to Chen, in addition to 200 hotels and restaurants that have received halal certificates, several stations and other means of public transportation, as well as tourist locations in Taiwan have facilities, such as mosques or prayer rooms, for Muslim visitors.
Taiwan continues to build prayer rooms in every public space, such as at train stations in Taipei, Kaohsiung and Hualien, Taichung high speed train station, and at the National Palace Museum.
"With all efforts made by our public and private sectors, there are more than 189 thousand Indonesians traveling to Taiwan in 2017," Ambassador Chen stated, adding that the number grew 46 percent as compared to that in 2016.
In 2018, Taiwan expected the number of Indonesian tourists visiting Formosa Island to increase to 250 thousand, he remarked.
"With the booming middle class in Indonesia looking for a fun destination abroad, we believe more Indonesian friends will be interested in visiting Taiwan. We are confident that visiting Taiwan will guarantee you an unforgettable experience, as Taiwan has much to offer," Ambassador Chen noted.
On the same occasion, Chairperson of the Taiwan Visitor Association Yeh Chu Lan noted that Indonesia was the largest Muslim market for Taiwan, and its people were friends of Taiwan.
The largest travel guide publisher in the world, Fodor, ranked Taiwan at 12th out of the 52 most-visited tourist destinations in 2018. This ranking is higher than Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, the Global Muslim Tourism Index issued by Mastercard 2018 indicated that Taiwan is ranked fifth as the best Muslim-friendly tourist destination. This position exceeds Germany, Australia, and the United States.
Several travel agents in Indonesia took part in the Taiwan tourism promotion event held by TETO. The event aimed at providing a broader and deeper knowledge and understanding of Taiwan as a friendly tourist destination for Indonesian Muslims.
Editing by Bustanuddin