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Small Town Ramble in Taiwan

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Taiwan is an island country and continues its vigorous efforts to promote tourism and offshore-island exploration this year by initiating the “2018 Year of Bay Tourism” program. Under this initiative, Turtle Island, Green Island, Orchid Island, Little Liuqiu, Qimei, Yuweng (Xiyu), Jibei, Little Kinmen (Lieyu), Beigan, and Dongju which will be highlighted in the “Explore 10 Islands of Taiwan” with in-depth experiential activities for all four seasons featuring whale and dolphin watching, seafood dining, lighthouse visits, and small fishing village tours.

The internationally known travel writer David Code praised Taiwan highly, saying that the island “is a hugely underrated gem of Asia and any time you spend here will be richly rewarded.”

Dr. Trust Lin – Director, Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Singapore Office speaks to TBME about ambitious plans for Middle East visitors to Taiwan in 2019 and beyond.

What is the status of the tourism industry in Taiwan today?

Taiwan as a tourism destination is now picking up across the world and also in the ME region, travelers are constantly in search of new destinations to explore and Taiwan has numerous attractions and activities for travelers of all segments thus making it a very lucrative destination in Asia. Taiwan also boasts of incredible infrastructure and tourism facilities, known worldwide for its 3C industry Taiwan is also the perfect place for MICE and Business Travel.

Can you comment about your market share? Who is your competition? Which is the most promising market?

Taiwan as a travel destination is still growing, however we are banking on the fact that most other destinations in Asia are already well explored Taiwan on the other hand is a true hidden Gem that is yet to be experienced. We see a lot of potential from the Middle East and India as the number of travelers from these regions are large and family travel consists of a huge portion of these markets.

In terms of Adventure Tourism, do you see value for visitors travelling from this region?

With regards to adventure tourism Taiwan boasts for exhilarating activities on land, air and water. Adventure enthusiasts will find no shortage of the same while in Taiwan, be it river rafting, ballooning, hiking, biking, Taiwan has it all so it is safe to say that Taiwan will definitely offer great value to visitors from the region.

What are the challenges you face in the region? What measures are in place to overcome these?

The biggest challenge for any upcoming travel destination is to create an awareness and assure travelers that the destination has much to offer in terms of value and safety, we have been aggressively educating the trade in the ME region about all our offerings through our representation office in the ME. Now that we have built a strong rapport with the trade we are directing our focus on the consumers. We recently conducted a joint marketing campaign directed at the end consumer with one of the biggest OTA’s in UAE, the campaign was a huge success with various elements in radio, social media, blogger activations and much more. We intend to conduct many such activities in the near future.

How are you gearing up for future growth in the region?

Middle East market is crucial for Taiwan as it has tremendous potential. Understanding the need for Halal services and offerings the Tourism Bureau is doing everything to help cater to this need of the market. Taiwan currently has 150+ halal certified restaurants and numerous hotels are now being certified as halal friendly. Taiwan is currently ranked 5th in the Master Card-Crescent Rating Global Muslim Travel Index 2018 among Non-Muslim countries and the Tourism Bureau is constantly working on making the country even more welcoming to Muslim travelers from the region.

Talking about the growth, how is the airport capacity at all the international airports equipped to handle this growth?

Taiwan’s main airport Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport handled a record of 42.3 Million passengers in 2016, with the expansion of the airport through a new terminal Taiwan is expected to accommodate 45 Million passengers per year by 2020. Besides for the main airport Taiwan also has 2 other international airports namely Taichung Airport and Kaohsiung Airport that can be accessed by travelers from the region.

Would you like to add anything?

The Tourism Bureau has taken up numerous initiatives with an objective of welcoming more travelers from the region. The theme for 2018 was Bay tourism wherein we showcased the beautiful offshore islands of Taiwan and our Cruise Tourism Segment. Taiwan can be experienced by families, adventure travelers, couples, solo travelers and women travelers as well. We look forward to hosting even more travelers from the Middle East in the coming years.