Guam – While visitor arrivals on Guam have been breaking records for the first time in over a decade, one visitor market has been slow to grow. And that’s in our Taiwan visitors. There could be a number of reasons behind this, but PNC recently took a trip to Taiwan to see what the country’s tourism industry is like and how our island could learn from it.
Pristine and untouched coast lines. This is what you’ll find when you step outside of the city in Taiwan. Well-preserved beaches, rocks developed by nature and stunning cliff lines overlooking sea towns still thriving with authentic Chinese traditions. PNC was invited to visit Taiwan recently to explore the country’s best kept secrets. Here’s an insider look at the hidden treasures of Taiwan and an idea of what the Taiwan traveler could expect when visiting Guam.
Taiwan is considered one of the top five performing economies of Asia. And while its outbound market is still dominated by the business minded traveler, recreational tourists are known to stay longer and spend more when compared to other Asian based travelers, making them VIPs in an industry saturated with the budget conscious traveler. But what is their tourism industry like?
We sat down with Taiwan’s Director-General of International Affairs Eric Lin. He talks about some of the partnerships Taiwan has formed with other Asian countries.
“It’s diffucult to attract the visitors from far away, such as Finland, North America, but we have cooperation with many countries,” says Lin. “So we arrange a tour, for example, if the tour is 10 days, they can spend 6 days in Bangkok, in Thailand and another four day … to Taiwan.”
Other traits Taiwan has focused on, Lin says, is already embedded in the country’s culture—food and, the best one by far, he says, its people. Why flock to mainland China for the authentic Chinese experience when, Lin says, you can have an even better one in Taiwan.
“In Taiwan, for cuisine, for example, in Taipei area you can experience, you can eat the different kinds of food in mainland China … it’s a big country, it’s very far away, it’s difficult to experience one from a different one, but in Taiwan you just in few days, just in one week, just in one day, you can experience all kinds of foods from mainland China,” Lin explains.
“[The people are] very helpful in Taiwan. So mainland Chinese, they say the most beautiful scenery in Taiwan is its people,” he adds.
Taiwan’s countryside has some striking similarities to Guam. Because it’s an island in Southeast Asia, its climate is just as tropical as ours, making its beaches just as warm and inviting too. And unlike beaches in Thailand or the Philippines, Taiwan’s beaches are not packed with tourists. Their northern coast is made up of world-renowned cliffs that experienced rock wall climbers return to every year.
And nestled in the bustling city of Taipei are majestic green mountains and an active volcano spewing endless amounts of sulfur. For even more scenic adventures, tucked away in the northern cape town of Wanli are curiously shaped rocks, unmarred by humanity.
Those are just some of the natural wonders of Taiwan. To add charm to their vast beaches, they recently introduced sand sculpting competitions, which aren’t typically seen in Asia. While Taiwan’s tourism industry is rapidly developing from its infancy, travel to Guam from Taiwan has been slow.
In January this year, there was a 52 percent decline in Taiwan arrivals compared to January last year. But GVB Spokesman Tony Muna says this is because of a decrease in airline seat capacity, among other factors. Since then, however, month-to-month data shows arrivals have been steady.
Taiwanese tourists could be a potential game changer for Guam.// Lin noted that out of the 23 million people who live in Taiwan, nearly half travel around the world.