With tourist arrivals continuing to soar, Taiwan
has launched an expansive campaign for the year designed to boost
the country’s visitor infrastructure and highlight top attractions
in every city and county.
More than 3.4 million visitors nearly 400,000 of
them from the United States, the third-largest market for the
country after Japan and Hong Kong traveled to Taiwan last year, up
15 percent from the previous year, according to Michael Chang,
director of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau’s New York office. The bureau
is hoping to nearly double that to more than 5 million visitors by
2008, Chang said.
The country’s “Flagship Tourist Attraction Plan”
includes the ongoing advertising campaign with the tagline “Taiwan
Touch Your Heart;” a new Web site (go2tawain.net); new tour
operators Asia Classic Tours, Absolute Asia, Artisans of Leisure,
Orient Flexi Pax and Travel Bound; and an “International Year of
Student Travel” campaign offering incentives, discounts and deals
to young travelers.
In Taipei, tourism officials are showcasing the
National Palace Museum, which exhibits 650,000 works of Chinese art
and is celebrating its 80th birthday with a $21 million renovation
to be completed in June. In July, three special exhibitions of Sung
Dynasty masterpieces will be presented. Through September, more
than 100 pieces will be on display including rarely-seen ceramics,
paintings and calligraphy.
In Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second largest city, the
Love River has been emphasized including the pesdestrian walkways
along the river, night markets, concerts and boat rides. Scenic
spots Taroko Gorge in Hualien County and Sun Moon Lake in Nantou
also will be highlighted.
Amid the increased attention, Taiwan is also
developing spa tourism around its hot springs and planning a number
of special interest tours and programs with Chinese medicine,
cooking schools and language courses.
Meanwhile, international hotels continue to expand
in the region with the 180-room Sheraton Yilan resort, set amid hot
springs and tea plantations, debuting last year; a five-star
InterContinental with 272 rooms and suites is scheduled to open in
2007 in Taiwan’s third largest city, Taichung; and in 2008, a Park
Hyatt and a Landis (a local boutique brand) are set to open in
Taichung. Another Landis will be built in Ataabu, in Taichung
Country, and a Hyatt Regency will open in Hsinchu.
Also in 2008, the bureau said the $87 million
Southern Branch Museum will open in Taibo City in central
Taiwan. The new museum will showcase more of the treasures in the
National Palace Museum’s collection, highlighting pan-Asian works
from Indonesia, India, Japan, Thailand and other neighbouring