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Posted: Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 8:53 AM HST

Hawaii expects visa waiver to boost Taiwan travel

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) Hawaii officials say the islands will likely welcome more visitors from Taiwan now that the U.S. has eliminated a visa requirement for Taiwanese citizens.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday it was adding Taiwan to a list of countries whose nationals may travel to the U.S. for tourism or business without a visa.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority says about 8,000 Taiwanese travelers visited last year.

It predicts more will come, just as South Korean travelers began visiting Hawaii in greater numbers after the U.S. extended its visa waiver to South Korea in 2008.

Hawaii expects over 140,000 South Korean visitors this year, more than three times the number that came in 2007.

Taiwan has a population of 23 million, about half the size of South Korea's 48 million.

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