Lake Spitzingsee, Germany
Lake Spitzingsee, Germany REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

The European Union (EU) on Thursday lifted visa requirements for tourists from Taiwan under the EU visa-waiver program - a move that is expected to increase the number of arrivals from Taiwan by at least 30 percent.

Taiwan's inclusion in the EU visa-waiver program, which will come into effect from January 2011, will allow visitors from Taiwan to travel without a visa to 25 European countries falling under the 'Schengen Area' including Norway, Iceland and Switzerland that are non-EU states, as well as the non-Schengen EU member states including Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus.

The visa-waiver will allow a stay of up to 90 days within a period of six months.

EU’s decision to lift visa requirements follows Taiwan’s grant of the similar privilege to Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania earlier this month.

According to European Commission, the executive body of EU, EU is the fourth largest trade partner of Taiwan and given the fact it is also an important tourist destination. Therefore, inflow of both leisure travelers and business travelers from Taiwan is likely to increase, giving a boost to the economy.