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Tourism Business in Taiwan’s Economy

The History of Taiwan

The history of Taiwan is 10,000 years old. Basically the Taiwanese people are called mountain people since the ancestors of modern Taiwanese belonged to the mountain areas. These people traveled through the glacial areas to Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia. In 1624, the Dutch invaded Taiwan, around 100,000 Taiwanese surrendered at that time and were forced to leave their Taiwanese nationalities and converted to Chinese. The population of Taiwan in 2000, was recorded to be 23 million, in which the pure Chinese were only 5% and 95% of the Taiwanese today belong to aboriginal blood. Some have 100%, some have 10% and some have more than 50% aboriginal blood. Due to the fact that Taiwan has been ruled by foreign regimes, such as, the Dutch, Koxinga, Ching, Japan, and the Republic of China the Taiwanese are known as Chinese. All of the regimes were demanding to change Taiwanese into their nationals. Malay-Polynesian people developed Taiwan in ancient times, which still are known as Taiwan aborigines.

After 1895 Taiwan was put under the supervision of Japanese Empire but later on due to the opposition of Taiwanese aborigines it was set free and at the end on World War II Taiwan was under the control of China. Belonging to the southeastern coast of the Chinese mainland, Taiwan is said to be the largest and well-known island of China. Taiwan has belonged to China since ancient times and many records say that it was earlier known with the names of Yizhou or Liuqiu. Many facts reveal that the development of Taiwan was due to the Chinese people. Since early 17th century the Chinese people started to setup the development of Taiwan.

The map of Taiwan
The map of Taiwan

The Economy of Taiwan

In the world’s economy Taiwan holds 17th position. It is 14th largest exporter and 16th largest importer also it is the 3rd largest holder of foreign exchange reserves consisting of $180 billion of reserves. Due to the change in land reforms by Chiang Kai-shek when his KMT government moved from Nanjing to Taipei, Taiwan’s productivity in agriculture was increased. Taiwan put more emphasis on foreign investment therefore it always welcomes it and develop export recessing zones. During the 1980’s period this emphasis moved from labor-intensive goods to capital-intensive and technology based goods. Deregulation of stock, banking trade and finance etc during 1990’s was an attempt to prepare the economy in order to join the world trade organization. These steps were very useful, as it is known that Taiwan has one of the world’s highest standards of living. It is one of Asia’s “four tigers” along with Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong. Taiwan’s per capita GNP experienced a rise from $1100 in 1950’s to $11600 in 1999.

Taiwan A Scenic Beauty

The Penghu archipelago, which is, situated less than 50 kilometers from the west coast of Taiwan, is full of fairy tale beauty and sceneries. Taiwan whose scenic beauty during the months of summer is nothing less than pleasant, soothing sky, peaceful beaches, flowing water with changing shades of sea life and delicate rows of flowers as blankets covering the mind-blowing beauty. Centuries ago the islands in Taiwan were said to be Pescadores or Fishermen’s Islands. Today this chain of islands is known as Penghu, the paradise situated at Taiwan.

Penghu Island
Penghu Island

Tourism Business in Taiwan Economy

Home stays and leisure farms in Taiwan offer great pleasure and plenty of hospitality for the tourist. Few decades ago Taiwan economy based on agriculture mainly, but now Taiwan has changed itself in to a technology based as well as a tourism gateway country. In its economy tourism plays a vital role. Taiwan is an admired safe haven from Mainland China. Over the centuries the royal people as well the farmers, fishermen, and minorities have found their heaven in Taiwan.

Although the place is full of historical monuments and antiquities, still tourists like to stay at the capital city Taipei, regardless of the fact of its polluted rods and congested traffic tourists enjoy the colors, lights and culture of this city. Since in modern times this city is highly industrialized, equally vast in technology according to the international standards and very much modernizes the tourism business is also appreciated to do here. Any investment made in the tourism business will pay a lot and will be greatly successful and profitable as this place contains a lot of scenic beauty along with the crowded and enjoyable nights and places.

Every year the government takes certain measures to attract tourists and tourism business. These policies and steps include.

Fun Fairs

Fun fairs are arranged every year around the nation by the Government to attract the tourists in order to promote the inland products consumption. As always in July 2007 a very unique of its kind and a big project fun fair was organized. The council of Agriculture, formed the teams, to reach such places that are required to fulfill the fun fair arrangements, the places were spacious, easy to handle traffic flow and proper arrangements of parking were there. Subsidies were provided to the local Governments by the central Government in order to spend on the fair sites, water and electricity supply and parking sites arrangements. In such funfairs the Government plans to provide the local agricultural products, arts and crafts etc without the intervention of wholesalers since they keep their high profit. The tourism business in Taiwan’s economy is as important as any other sector: industrial, manufacturing, agricultural etc, the Government also present agricultural products in the funfairs for the foreigners to know this side of Taiwan and to welcome foreign investments in future by such resources. It pays great benefit to the local market.

Westerners Providing Tourism Infrastructures

Many westerners in Taiwan are providing tourism packages to the international clients. They are doing a job well-done since they know exactly what their customers require in package, how much they can pay and what standard is suitable for them. These people not only have knowledge regarding to their areas but also they gain perfect local knowledge and contacts.

Lets take an example of “Step Out in Taiwan Café “ was started in 2005 and now they are expanding it to “Step Out in Taiwan Adventures”. The adventure part of the café includes hiking, barbecue, paragliding, river hikes, picnics, mountain climbing, and waterfall amusements etc. This café serves 90% to the international clients. Another business “Green Island Adventures” which takes the tourists to the green Island, a small volcanic island near the southeastern coast of Taiwan. In Taiwan 70% of the business people are from the west. They come to Taiwan mostly for meeting relatives, business purposes, business assignments and visiting friends.

Besides all these efforts, which the westerners are making and earning in Taiwan, there are still many hurdles, which these people are facing, such as buying land and place for setup, the difference in language and learning it etc. western investors have helped this way to lessen the breach between the island and the international visitor. By taking great advantage to all these fun filled and exciting ventures not only the international but also the local visitor gets so much pleasure.

According to a survey recently released by the tourism bureau, the tourism income in Taiwan has increased by 3.19% in 2006. And the top most contributors in this regard are the Japanese with the highest purchasing power. In this survey the tourists were asked about their purpose of visit, what places they mostly like to see, how much they spent, and are they feel contented with the small hospitality and the tourism package. 5,510 people were interviewed out of which 508 people were from China. This surve reveals the fact that the tourism income in Taiwan is US$51.36 billion in 2006. Among the entire tourist visiting Taiwan the highest purchaser are the Japanese they spent US$ 341.82 every day on the island during their whole stay. After them the Chinese tourist spends US$ 243.95 daily and last but no the least the Korean tourists spent US$ 195.83 per day.

The survey also reveals that the highly appreciated factors of Taiwan by the tourists are cuisines and landscapes. These two things attract the tourists mainly. The major tourists activities are shopping, visiting to massage centers, acupuncture treatments and going to night markets. The night markets are the top most priority by the tourists the national museum is liked at the second place and thirdly the Taipei 101 building. And after this great collection of monuments and amusement places the liking tag goes to the Democracy Memorial Hall and the Jiufen scenic area. Besides these buildings and market places the scenic beauty of Tienhsiang of Taroko in Hualien. is at the top of the list by the foreigners.

Tienhsiang of Taroko
Taipei 101 Building

Taiwan is full of culture, scenic beauty, arts and crafts, changing cuisines and friendly people, which make it a perfect and desirable place for tourists. The transportation, hotel ling and hospitality in Taiwan have no competitor. A great number of general public as well as the people who give opinions from Japan, USA, UK, France and Germany are agreed on the point that Taiwan is a democratic country with powerful economy, technology, modernization plus beauty of nature, ancient culture and civilization, good cuisines and colorful attractions.

According to the fact sheet more than 3 million visits were made to Taiwan in 2005, which is the fresh single year record. And also the Tourism Bureau revealed that the international visitors are impressed by the food presentation and availability, while the beauty, hospitality and the reasonable price structures also impressed them. Past few years were very important for the people of Taiwan. They specially developed their cities and towns for the tourism purposes and to attract the visitors. Celebrating holy events and cultural occasions is the identity of the people of Taiwan, which is now known internationally.

The Ten Most Enjoyed Destinations by the Tourists Are

  1. Taroko Gorge, in eastern Tawian’s Hualien County.
  2. Kenting, in southern Taiwan’s Pingtung County.
  3. Love River, in southern Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City.
  4. Ali Mountain (Alishan, or Mt Ali), in west-central Taiwan’s Chiayi County.
  5. National Palace Museum, in Taipei City.
  6. Wulai, in northern Taiwan’s Taipei County.
  7. Jioufen (Jiufen), in northern Taiwan’s Taipei County.
  8. Yangmingshan, in Taipei City.
  9. Sun Moon Lake, in central Taiwan’s Nantou County.
  10. Danshuei (Danshui, or Tamshui), in northern Taiwan’s Taipei County.

Ten Most Frequently Visited Destinations

  1. Night markets, such as the Shihlin Night Market and the Huahsi Street Night Market in Taipei City.
  2. Taipei 101, in Taipei City.
  3. National Palace Museum, in Taipei City.
  4. Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, in Taipei City.
  5. Simending (Hsimending), in Taipei City.
  6. Jioufen (Jiufen), in northern Taiwan’s Taipei County.
  7. Danshuei (Danshui, or Tamshui), in northern Taiwan’s Taipei County.
  8. Longshan Temple (or Lungshan Temple), in Taipei City.
  9. Martyrs’ Shrine, in Taipei City.
  10. Yangmingshan, in Taipei City.

In the business world of today Taiwan stood at 47th place. The business investments in Taiwan are very easy to do and to make good profit from. According to the doing business report 2007 Taiwan has the eight most favorable circumstances for doing business. This result was revealed after the study of 175 economies around the globe.

Taiwan is a land of scenic beauty and that is what paying it in terms of tourism business today which is boosting its economy. The sun moon lake in central Taiwan is nothing less than a poetic beauty. It gives the tourists an emotional experience. Last year Chinese tourists made 40 million visits worldwide, and the tourism from them became the reason of great economic prosperity to many countries. The conflict between Taipei and Beijing affected the island’s economy and prevented the Chinese currency to contribute in the island’s economy the way it did to other’s.

However, the Taipei government after realizing such a loss, allows the Chinese tourist with residence permits in far flung countries to travel to this island. Since this step has been taken the inflow of tourism from mainland has risen but still it’s lower comparatively to other countries. The Government of Taiwan thinks that its tourism is so many dependants on the people from mainland and considers a lot the reimbursement Chinese tourists carry to the Taiwan’s economy. The revenue generated from only Chinese tourists per day is T$30bn-T$40bn ($895m-$1.2bn, €746m-€995m, £506m-£674m).

The major part of tourism revenue generated sent to the large enterprises such as Ambassador Hotel Group, and Janfusin fancy park, in southern part of Yunlin. Keeping in eye the above-mentioned facts the analyst says that the main boost to the Taiwan economy comes when the Chinese shop for the branded products there. The Taiwanese investors always like to welcome Chinese and ready to invest more if more Chinese are easily allowed to enter Taiwan. Taiwan has been ranked the world’s 29th biggest “tourist economy”. The tourism business is contributed 4.52 % in its GDP the 2006 statistic showed which was presented by the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD). On the other hand the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTCC) states that Taiwan had 3.52 million visitors in 2006, out of which 151207 came purely for tourism and no other purpose. And while their visit to

Taiwan the tourists spend US$ 34.43 billion in 2006, this show an increase of 5.7% yearly, which is greater than the global average increase of 4.85%. In Taiwan the progressive position of the tourism business has produced 17,000 jobs, which shows that the Government’s marketing policies have worked out and Taiwan’s tourism business will further progress in the future.

On contrary to this fact that Taiwan heavily earns its revenues from the tourism business few people have a different perception. They say that Taiwan as a country filled with industrialization and technology based goods earn its revenues from other sources as well and the tourism effect even having a great flow of people from all over the world is still not too high since much of Taiwanese travel abroad to foreign countries as much of the travelers come to this island annually. Therefore it shows a complete offset position. To lookup this situation and to give a swell to the Taiwan’s economy the Bureau of tourism decided to take such measures which help make Taiwan attract twice much foreigners then the number of Taiwanese travel abroad. For this purpose Government introduced policies and grant subsidies to many sectors. The policies include “Challenge 2008” in which the Tourism Bureau planned to double the number of tourists come to Taiwan annually. The basic aim was to make the island in to “Green Silicon Island” such that it should match the international standards.

Big advertisement campaigns were started to achieve this goal, and in the locality of the islands it was decided to provide tourist guide facilities as well as development of new projects. When this plan was implemented the tourism industry rapidly moves towards their fixed target and nearly 20% rise was observed comparing to the previous years tourists’ entries.

The enhancement of tourism business plan, which was started in 2002 and had many targets, completed few in end of 2003, including the development of South West Coast National Scenic Area sided at the coast of Yunlin, Chiyai etc. in the enhancement plan a new path for bicycle riders was generated by the National Council For physical Fitness and Sports. Also the Chiang-Kai Shek airport terminal 1 was renovated. The hotels and the China youth centers were given a glance to make any improvements, which can make them, stand along the international standard five-star hotels and youth hostels.

The tourism bureau also played a vital role in the advert campaigns and promotion of this business. Many channels were approached to place a promotion package through out the world. In UK, USA, JAPAN and many more countries, which contain the larger amount of people travel to Taiwan annually, the advert campaigns were run there on cable channels, on train in form of posters and in newspapers. And after all these steps the last was to approach the travel agencies providing tourism packages, they were asked to offer special discount and economical packages to the travelers from abroad. The shopping packages to attract tourists include tax exemption from several products, reasonable price tags, vast variety of goods, quality maintain and a friendly and pleasing environment to shop along with the dinning in facilities and lights and colors of cheery nights.

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The tourism fact sheet from world to Taiwan

With certain many measures taken for the amusement purposes the Government also gave relaxation on visas, lets say the tourists from Malaysia and South Korea were allowed to stay till one month without applying for visa extension on the island.

The flow of tourists from all over the world recently has come after a certain steady period of low tourism due to the SARS effects in 2003. Almost 80% of the tourists postpone their trip to Taiwan for not only tourism but also business or any other purposes. But in the end of 2003 when bird flu spread in East Asia tourism was really affected there and people start moving back to Taiwan increasing it tourism percentage again to normal. When the Vice president of Cheery Services and Co. was asked about such ups and downs of the tourism industry and the disastrous events and their effects he said:” These disasters increased the capability of Taiwan’s tourism industry to recuperate after misfortune. He said the region was recovering speedily after the severe flooding in southern Taiwan a few weeks ago”. Another businessperson Peter Kuo, president of Edison Travel Service, expressed his point of view on this issue and said that his company has experienced increasing business services worldwide particularly from USA and Europe. He further stated that the credit for this increase goes to the tourism bureau; they have spent a lot of money on advertisement campaigns and promotion packages throughout the world so as to make the tourism industry powerful.

All over it is expected that the rush in tourism benefited the big chaps of the Taiwan economy. The increase in many firm’s shares have been observed for example the Taiwan-based China airlines increased by almost 5%, also the shares of LEOFOO Development Co. increased by 40% after a certain slight back of some natural calamities and rumors etc.

“Once you go out and ride your bicycle, you will discover the world is boundless; and the harder you pedal, the faster and steadier you’ll go.” – President Chen Shui-bian Taiwan is so beautiful from its rural-side. The places are worth seeing and of great interest to the tourists. During the last few decades Taiwan has stabilize its economy on the basis of tourism business before that Taiwan was mainly based on agricultural products. The farms, the temporary stay places represent a lot of hospitality and pleasure. The must see places to visit which are sole reasons to boost the tourism industry are:

The Farms

In Taiwan there are a number of tourists’ farms. These farms provide special activities for tourists like flower picking, fruits plucking and providing vegetables etc, these farms include strawberry farms of Miaoli County’s Dahu Township and the sunflower nurseries of Nantou County’s Jiji Township. Besides these farms there are also some recreational farms. The recreational farms allow visitors to plough, harvest as well as to do swimming, bird watching and these farms are filled with sheep, ducks, chickens and goats etc. the agricultural council revealed the fact that about 2000hectares of is covered with the recreational farms and there are more than 180 such farms presently.

Farms
The Re-Creational Farms

Staying At Home-Stay and Its Hospitality

The Taiwanese culture of bread and breakfast at the home stays is the mostly likely activity by the tourist. These home stays are very beneficial they also offer low cost packages of area trips than the market rates. It represents the Taiwanese culture, and the small rural areas are the symbol of the history, tradition and heritage of the people of Taiwan. It is worth mentioning here that some 10 years ago the concept of home stays was new to Taiwan but the recent report says that there are 1426 registered home stays and even many are still un registered which do not advertise and just provide services by telling each other or just recommending.

Home stays
The Home stays at Taiwan

The National Museum

The national museum at Taipei is a very famous and historical place to go to. A large variety of miniatures, pictures, preserved arts and crafts are found at one place. This museum has the significance of owning world’s largest collection of oriental art treasures, which are almost five million years old. All the collection is diversified by its position regularly so every time you visit, it will give a great impact and presentation of bronze, porcelain, paintings, and jade. Guide tours in English, Japanese and few more languages are also available.

National Museum
The Taipei National Museum

The Yangmingshan National Park

When Taiwan was under occupation of Japan in (1895-1945) this park was not very much known or visited by people. This park is situated at Beitou in north Taipei city. After the Second World War ended this park was given a different name by the ROC government. This park has a significance of volcanic history and it has hot springs. This park became recognized in September 1985, and at present it has 1,359 species of plants. Inside the Yangmingshan National Park there are also the Yangmingshan Park and Yangmingshan Academy.

National Park
The Yangmingshan National Park

The Sun Moon Lake

The southern area of this lake near the La Lu Island is shaped like a new moon, while the northern part is so shaped presenting the sun like picture that is why this lake is named the sun-moon lake. This lake has a significant position of being the only natural lake in Taiwan. It is 748 meters above the sea level. The sun-moon lake has the natural touch not only because of its beauty but due to its surroundings as well which is so full of greenery and forests areas.

Moon lake
The sun-moon lake

Martyrs Shrine

As the name makes it obvious the Martyrs Shrine, is a rest place of the great Martyrs of Taiwan. This shrine is built on a very big area and was established in 1969. This shrine resembles in its architectural way with the Taihe Dian Imperial Palace in Beijing. This shrine was built to pay tribute to the 330,000 men who shed their blood during the Sino-Japanese and Chinese civil war. In their memorandum big plates have been placed on the four walls and every year in spring the Taiwanese minister along with the military come and pay tribute with flowers to this shrine. The exact location of this shrine is Taipei’s city in the district of Chungshan. The visiting timing are very limited it is not open for whole day but from 9am to 5pm daily. Often the military people as well as the student’s visits this place to gain inspiration.

Martyrs Shrine
The Martyrs Shrine

Wulai

Wulai is basically a village. It is situated 29 kilometers away in the south of Taipei. This city is well known for its hospitality and beauty; it contains waterfalls, spring resorts and unforgettable experience to stay at. Since it is a very small city its residents are mostly simple, aboriginal people. The singing and dancing show of the aboriginal people is a must to see in this small city visit.

Waterfall
A waterfall at Wulai

Tamshui (Danshui)

It is a small town situated at northwest of Taipei City, it is said that this town has been used as a port in Taiwan, which was largest and mostly used, by big ships and transactions. The architecture, natural scenes and the seafood especially the “iron egg” is so much appreciated by the local tourists. A great number of historical buildings are preserved in this small town, which are of much interest to people looking for older civilizations, culture and history. It also offer the boat ride to another small town Bali through the river which is situated around this town.

The river
The river around the Tamshui (Danshui)

Festivals in Taiwan for Tourists

In Taiwan every year a variety of festivals are celebrated for the tourist’s attraction. The year starts with the “Lunar New year” festival. This is the major and unique of its kind festival. This festival basically is celebrated after the Lantern festival, which is celebrated when first full moon is seen. When the Lantern and the lunar festivals are over then it comes the turn of the festival of Matsu, Goddess of the Sea. The Matsu Goddess of the Sea Festival is celebrated t the Matsu temple at Taiwan.

The year has begun with its great festivities and activities and the flow of tourists, now it comes the Dragon Boat festival. This festival includes the Dragon Boats races and rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves are served to eat in the remembrance of poet- statesman who was droned in sea. As every culture owns some superstitious festivities in it, similarly the Taiwanese celebrate the Ghost festival and it is said that during this festival the doors of hell are opened and the spirits come to the earth.

After this comes the mid-autumn or moon festival, which is celebrated in September, in this exciting and full of romance festival all the focus is towards moon. Looking it, eating moon-cakes, doing barbecues, parties etc. The Confucius’s Birthday, which is also celebrated to pay tribute to the teachers and is often, said the teacher’s day festival is held on 28th September, which calls for special dances, costumes and songs. The Double Tenth National day is celebrated at the end of the year. It is in the celebration of anniversary of the October 10,1911 revolution. After this revolution the Republic of China was came into being.

Dragon Boat
The Taipei Dragon Boat Festival

Best Time to Visit Taiwan

The best time to visit Taiwan is the autumn season. The months of October and November are mostly dry and mild months. Although like any other South Asian country the summer season in Taiwan is hot and sticky but a cold shower may lessen the temperature effects. Here one point is to be pondered and that is the fares of air travel are higher in summer than those in winter.

December and January are the most suitable months to travel to the south-coast of island. In these months swimming, hiking, bike riding are the most favorable and liked by tourists. Also the number of tourists are less and too much crowed is not seen at resorts and markets etc. And last but not the least never visit in the days of Chinese new year since you will find traffic jam, roads blocked, shops closed and a full holiday season. Rather than holidays the festival days like Lantern, lunar and Dragon Boat festivals.

In such days the resorts, hotels and market prices are not too high, the business people give great incentives and discounts. Therefore the best time to enjoy being at the island along with little expenditure is obviously appreciable by any tourist.

The Present Situation

Recently in April 2007 a delegation from Taiwan went to New York, which consisted of 100 local counterparts. Since the summer season was started and tourism business at its peak in this season. Therefore to promote this business the delegation which was consisted of officials, TVA (Taiwan Visitors Association), Travel agents and many other people gave presentations related to Taiwan culture, music, tradition etc and introduced it to the New York people so as to sell Taiwan to US.

Beijing is expected to organize the 2008 Olympics; this is a golden opportunity for Taiwan to arrange trips, tourist packages and earn revenue from since the focus of the world is on this part. The director of the Ministry of Communication and transportation Chang Cheng-yuan, said that in the last few years it has been observed that the flow of traffic for tourists is increased from the US and European countries. The position of Taiwan in the tourism business is so strong now that it is ready to invite still more traffic of tourists through out the world. In 2007 approximately 97,000 persons from North America traveled to Taiwan for business as well as for leisure purposes. Taiwanese have made all the preparations for this great opportunity and event and they are waiting for the flow of visitors from mainland to Taiwan soon. This year Taiwan tourism’s business is eagerly waiting the visitors from mainland. For this purpose 3000 new tourists guide are ready to serve their clients and 41 newly built hotels have setup the accommodation needs for these people. The Taiwan government has also taken measures to give ease of business needs and requirements for these tourists of mainland. Since when the Chinese Government remove ban from the tourists of mainland, the Taiwan’s tourism business have got a big supports and from 2006 onwards it showed a tremendous progress.

Taiwan’s tourism business offers great sceneries and great food verities for tourists. But some critics suggests that there should be some modifications and changes in this business and relying only on the natural beauty is not a long-lasting deed for marinating the economic position of this business. The sports, handicrafts and other leisure activities for Taiwan should also be promoted besides the scenic beauty, which stood since centuries at the island.

Although it is ground fact that Taiwan faces many hurdles, in promoting tourism business there due to the closeness of Japan, China and other big south Asian countries in this region which have larger area as well as resources than this small island, but still the people of Taiwan and its Government is so hopeful for upcoming era that there will be a boom to this business which is growing day by day. And since the Taiwanese maintain their uniqueness in many other aspects regardless of the facts that they possess smaller area, the culture, heritage and visiting paces are becoming a great source of pleasure and interest for the foreigners all over the world.

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