Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Taiwan Tourism and Economic Cycles

Taiwan's central government has recently projected an estimated 5.2 million tourists this year, which would set a new record. The report also eyes bicycle tourism as one of the central targets of the government's tourism push.

The report states:

President Ma Ying-jeou said Saturday that the number of visitors in Taiwan is expected to reach a record 5.2 million this year, mainly because improved cross-strait relations have brought more Chinese tourists.

In the latest edition of his online video journal, Ma defended his administration's policy of allowing more Chinese tourists.

"I think I am doing the right thing, so I will continue to do it and not be afraid of criticism"
To take a more critical look at the government's claims, they have provided only partial and flattering data to support a program that smacks of ideology. I think it is plainly obvious that the Ma administration is hoping to draw speculative conclusions to draw support for its controversial policies that have degraded Taiwan's sovereignty and seek to integrate Taiwan into a political and economic Chinese state as a subordinate member.

It also appears tourism is being targeted to replace the industries in which Taiwan still retains its competitive edge; industries including high-end electronics, semiconductors, sports equipment, and high-end bicycles. It seems Taiwan is slated to become a vassal state of Chinese tourism.

In the report, government representatives also saw a rise in Malaysian visitors and seeks to attract cyclists with more independent modes of travel.
Lai attributed the steep rise to airlines increasing the number of flights between Taiwan and Malaysia. She also said many Malaysian tourists preferred to travel without tour groups, staying in guest houses or riding bicycles.

She said the Tourism Bureau planned to promote the Lantern Festival in the spring, local cuisine in the summer, cycling in the fall and hot springs in the winter.
One alternative source to the increase in tourism may be that the global economic recovery is allowing Asian tourists to seek vacations, but those vacations are less costly and closer to home.

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Primavera Cycles has posted a wonderful ride report in its "Newsroom", with some more details regarding the upcoming festival in Hualien next month between October 16 and October 24.

The central government hopes to attract over 10,000 foreign visitors to participate in the event, and I have been hoping to provide a little more information on the activities, but in reading the Chinese language event page from the Tourism Bureau... I am really unsure which events are open to the general public or where exactly to register for the events. Sorry guys. This is really unfortunate as I am aware of several foreign visitors who are interested in attending, but do not have access to the information. Maybe when I have a little time (which I really don't) I can sift through the Chinese information and make an English translation. Maybe not.

I think the aspirations of the central government to be a cycling tourism destination must still overcome some massive hurdles to draw tourists from all over the world and not just from Chinese speaking (reading) countries. Here we can see another event where the vision is wide, but the execution is narrow.

News Cycles:
  • Virginia learns the cerebral joys of riding solo: here
  • Videos from the Cyclocross USGP: here
  • Allen Lim, the sports physiologist for Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis will testify (Oh please let me go to great lengths to give Taiwan ownership of him ala Michael Chang.... Lim's parents fled China at different times and met in the Philippines, then moved to Taiwan, before moving to L.A. where Allen is from. Pride of The Nation... LOL!!!): here
  • Just the good ole' boys... and they mean us some harm! Kentucky driver seeks to harm cyclists: here

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