Taiwan must move to add more values to its tourism industry by developing smart innovations and smart transportation solutions, according to Christian Fuchssteiner, director of the Austrian Commercial Office in Taipei.
The southern reaches of Taitung County on the East Coast is a region of high-mountain backdrops, flatlands carpeted with paddy fields, Pacific Ocean views, palm trees, and gently curving highways that are much quieter than those in the island's more heavily populated areas. Here you can experience the cultures of indigenous peoples (including a visit to harvest festival celebrations, indigenous singing and dancing, an educational forest walk on a "sacred" mountain, and feasting on native cuisine), cycling through farmers' fields, the local live-music scene, surfing, distinctive arts and crafts, hot-air balloon flights and much more.
Taiwan received 11 million visitors in 2018 and the number of tourism businesses has grown 21% over the past three years, indicating tourism in Taiwan is booming. With do-it-yourself trips quickly taking over guided tours to become the mainstream, traveler behavior is changing and travel experiences are being reshaped. This has prompted more and more tourism and hospitality companies to engage in new ways of conducting business and come up with new ideas on how to help travelers gain access to information faster and easier.
Taichung, west-central Taiwan's hub city, is a dynamic place long known for universities and intellectual ferment as well as for blue-collar industrial dynamism. Its factories and major port played a key role in Taiwan's famed "economic miracle" of the past century, and they remain the driving force behind central Taiwan's economic elan, the scholastic institutions playing a key supporting role. Over the past two decades, however, a third actor has entered the play - the city has been reinventing itself as a destination of cultural and recreational enticements, creating an ever-widening array of resident- and tourist-friendly cultural and green-space attractions.
The city of Tainan on the southwest coast is the birthplace of modern Taiwan history. The local population looks upon Tainan - the capital for most of the island's days under imperial Chinese control - as the Japanese do upon ancient Kyoto and the Koreans upon antique Kyongju. The classic Tainan tour, a celebration of the proud legacy embodied in its compelling heritage sites, has in recent years been made that much more rewarding with renovation and/or significant augmentation of sites for the pleasure of both residents and tourists.
To encourage more overseas tourists to visit Taiwan, the Tourism Bureau, MOTC, has also been encouraging visitors to explore central and southern Taiwan's new tourist attractions. So it has joined hands with the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation to launch the "Travel in a Pair, One Person Travels for Free" discount offer. From Nov. 27, 2018 to Jan. 31, 2019 overseas tourists coming to Taiwan on short-term visas can enjoy one free ticket as long as they and their travel companion take a trip to any THSR station from Taichung and southward. The stations and destinations included in this offer are: Taichung, Changhua, Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan and Zuoying (Kaohsiung).
Taiwan has established leadership in the global bicycle industry. Cycling is also gaining popularity in Taiwan in recent years with more than 270 cycling events held by non-government organizations in 2017. Going forward, how will cycling continue to flourish in Taiwan?