During the coronavirus pandemic, the island had closed its borders and applied strict quarantine rules, so the number of infections was low.
In April, the government began to abandon its zero-tolerance strategy for COVID-19 and consider the pandemic endemic. Such changes began after the majority of the population was vaccinated.
Starting Oct. 13, authorities will lift the quarantine requirement and ask arrivals to self-monitor their health for seven days, Premier Su Tseng-chang was quoted as saying by government spokesman Lo Ping-cheng on Thursday.
Visitors are currently required to undergo a three-day hotel quarantine and a four-day health check-up, during which they must avoid crowded areas.
The visa-free regime for visitors from certain countries will resume on September 29, and the ban on tour groups will be lifted in October, Lo Ping-cheng added.
The new measures will allow “the public to fully return to normal life, Taiwan to open its doors to tourists again, and all industries to become more active and prosperous,” he said.
But some tourism industry experts said Taiwan would still struggle to compete for visitors with other travel destinations in the region because of health self-inspection rules.
“The whole world except China and Taiwan has already opened up, and Taiwan is doing it too slowly and too late,” said Robert Kao, a tourism management and operations expert at Tainan University of Technology.
He called a seven-day health introspection without quarantine “pointless” and added that “tourists will choose countries like Japan or South Korea where there are no such restrictions.”
This year, nearly 6 million were recorded in Taiwan. cases of coronavirus infection, although, according to official data, more than 99 percent those infected had mild or no symptoms and a mortality rate of 0.16 percent.
The Mainland Affairs Council – Taiwan’s Ministry of Chinese Affairs – also announced Thursday that residents of China, Hong Kong and Macau can apply to visit relatives, attend funerals or handle inheritance matters from September 29.
Crew members and technicians from Chinese airlines and shipping companies will also be able to go to Taiwan.
Taiwan has imposed stricter immigration restrictions on residents from China and its two territories. This reflects lingering political tensions with Beijing.
Taiwan has been independently governed since the end of the civil war in 1949. This island has its own democratically elected government and a strong military.
China considers Taiwan its territory, which Beijing intends to regain control of someday, by force if necessary.