Transforming Taiwan’s Tourism Industry

In a quickly shifting world, travel and tourism seem to take many new shapes. Collaboration and partnership between various travel industry stakeholders in Taiwan must, once again, be innovatively enhanced and explored.

On June 23, AmCham Taipei’s Travel & Tourism Committee invited renowned guest lecturer and hotelier Dr. Bert van Walbeek to give a luncheon presentation entitled “Transforming Taiwan’s Tourism Industry” hosted at the Grand Hyatt Taipei. He touched upon Taiwan’s major tourism challenges before asking the audience to collectively generate ideas for advancing the industry.

Dr. Walbeek’s “3 Course” presentation was uniquely divided into three sections corresponding with the meal, and it included the following topics:

Chicken Soup for the Soul

  • Travel & Tourism Development in a Changing World
  • Shock Waves

Where’s the Beef?

  • Balance Between Security and Travel Facilitation
  • Protecting People and Places
  • The Future of Work

Life is Short, Let’s Eat Dessert First!

  • Freedom to Travel
  • Partnerships
  • Is Taiwan Still The Heart of Asia?

How can we enhance the positives of Taiwan’s tourism opportunities and consequently eliminate some of the negatives? What is going to happen in the future of the workforce? Is our vision clear and our values ready?

Travel & Tourism Co-Chair Achim V. Hake, General Manager, The Sherwood Taipei with speaker Bert van Walbeek
Managing Director, The Winning Edge

Throughout his presentation, Dr. Walbeek asked these questions while emphasizing various channels of important reform to strengthen the tourism industry. He advised that more leadership, responsibility, and transparency are needed among the country’s tourism sector in order to earn the trust of the travel industry around the world. Much of his talk was dedicated to the idea of resilience through “shock waves” that will inevitably present themselves as Taiwan looks into the future. “Every crisis has an opportunity,” he noted, “but if you only look at the problem, a crisis will never become an opportunity.”

Dr. Walbeek mentioned the rise of smart tourism – in modern times, one can receive all the information about a given tourist attraction at the click of a button. Such swift trends in technological transformation beg questions of how people will continue to tangibly connect in the coming years and how the tourism industry will change. He further urged the significance of tourism stakeholders collaborating rather than competing for control of incentive travel or prominence in the industry.

While acknowledging matters of concern, Dr. Walbeek is regardless expectant of growth in Taiwan’s tourism sector over the next few decades, and is optimistic about reform in the current system. He concluded by reminding the audience that “we are all in the people business…people who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”

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