Albania has granted Taiwanese tourists visa-free status, making it the 115th country in the world to do so.
Foreign ministry spokesman James Chang said on Friday that the decision made by the European country carries tremendous significance. Chang said that’s because Albania used to be extremely friendly to Mainland China and even referred to Taiwan as “Taiwan, Mainland China”.
“The visa waiver from Albania is the result of efforts made by diplomats on both sides. This is the first time that Albania has used ‘Chinese Taipei’ to refer to Taiwan, which is a gesture of goodwill,” said Chang.
Chang said the visa-free treatment shows that President Ma Ying-jeou’s administration has worked hard to raise Taiwan’s profile in the international community while seeking dignity and making things easier for Taiwanese tourists at the same time.
Chang said that the designation “Chinese Taipei” is acceptable to Taiwan. But he also said it might take some time for Albania to change Taiwan’s designation to “Chinese Taipei” on all its official documents.
Taiwanese tourists are allowed to stay in Albania for up to 90 days and the visa-free treatment was made retroactive to June 1st.
Meanwhile, President Ma Ying-jeou said the visa waiver from Albania shows that many countries have been friendly and are no longer hostile to Taiwan.
Also on Friday, Tamkang University international affairs and strategic studies professor Wang Kuen-tih said more and more Eastern European countries will give Taiwan visa-free treatment in order to boost their tourism and economies.