Tourism 2020: A Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy

Taiwan boasts a number of scenic destinations and tourism resources. Despite the decline in Chinese tourists since 2016, Taiwan has been able to increase the number of visitors from other areas. The Taiwan Tourism Bureau is working with local governments and the private sector to develop sustainable models for the travel industry by offering a visitor-friendly environment, smart travel facilities, and authentic experiences.

AmCham Taipei’s Travel & Tourism Committee invited Tourism Bureau Director-general Chou Yung-Hui to deliver a Chinese-language presentation on “Tourism 2020 – 台灣永續觀光發展願景” and share strategies on developing sustainable tourism. The presentation took place at a luncheon held at the Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel on September 8.

Chou provided an overview of the current status of Taiwan’s tourism market and noted key trends impacting the travel and tourism industry globally:

  • Growing Asian Market: the Asia-Pacific market is stronger than ever and will be the fastest growing region for tourism development.
  • Globalization Effect: tourists are showing an increasing preference for shorter-distance international trips.
  • Localization and cultural relevance: consumers’ desire for an authentic experience play an integral part in their travel planning.
  • Digital transformation: the rise of digital technology has changed consumer travel behavior and has created new business opportunities.

From left to right: Andrea Wu, AmCham Taipei president, AmCham Travel & Tourism Committee Co-chair Pauline Leung, CEO, Compass Public Relations Ltd.; Director-general Chou Yung-Hui, Taiwan Tourism Bureau, M.O.T.C.; and Director Cheng Ying-Huei, International Affairs, Taiwan Tourism Bureau, M.O.T.C.

In line with the global trends and the government’s New Southbound policy, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau will be implementing the following strategies to develop a sustainable tourism market for Taiwan:

  • Market diversification: the emphasis will be on Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia; deepening the penetration of the European and American markets, maintenance of the Chinese market, and further developing new market segments including MICE, cruise lines, Muslim tourism, and charter-flight travelers.
  • Promotion of domestic travel: deployment of a new Citizen’s Travel Card program designed to encourage domestic travel through high-quality travel packages.
  • Guidance for industrial transformation: adjustments to the tourism structure to improve service quality and maximize opportunities for businesses through brand exposure, quality-evaluation mechanisms, increased resources and support for travel agencies, and strengthened training for foreign-tour guides.
  • Smart tourism: integration and improvement of services for Foreign Independent Travelers (FIT), including travel information, ticketing systems, and public transport services.
  • Expansion of experiential tourism: working with local governments to create new tourist attractions and promote localized travel adventures, such as themed itineraries for scenic spots catering to international tourists.

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Transforming Taiwan’s MICE Industry

Taiwan is seeking to expand its business in the travel segment known as MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions). At a July 19 luncheon meeting at The Sherwood Taipei sponsored by AmCham Taipei’s Travel & Tourism Committee, Walter Yeh, President & CEO of the semi-official Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), addressed the subject with a presentation entitled “Transforming Taiwan’s MICE Industry.”

Primarily through the approximately 40 international trade shows that TAITRA puts on each year, including such prominent events as Computex Taipei in the information technology field and the Taipei Cycle Show, Taiwan has already established a foothold in the MICE field. More than 80,000 international visitors come to Taiwan annually for these events.

But Taiwan has trailed behind some other cities in the region as a center for international conferences and incentive travel, due to a lack of sufficient facilities, promotion, and training.

Yeh said the Taiwan government is now placing new emphasis on the MICE industry, in part to make up for the decline in tour groups coming from China. The mission to help promote the business is even being given to Taiwan’s representative offices around the world, which in the past dealt purely with economic and political issues.

From left to right: AmCham Travel & Tourism Committee C0-chair Achim V. Hake, General Manager, The Sherwood Taipei; AmCham Travel & Tourism Committee C0-chair Pauline Leung, CEO of Compass Public Relations Ltd; Speaker Walter Yeh, President & CEO of Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA); Andrea Wu, AmCham Taipei president

Some of the key points touched on in Yeh’s presentation included:

  • Taiwan has an excellent opportunity to attract more incentive travelers from Muslim countries, especially from Southeast Asian locations such as Malaysia and Indonesia. To create a more welcoming environment for such visitors, the government is assisting restaurants to qualify for Halal certification and encouraging the setting aside of prayer rooms in more public places.
  • The opening of Hall 2 of the Taipei Nankang Exhibition Center in 2019 will substantially increase the amount of available exhibition space, permitting expansion of popular trade shows such as Computex.
  • One of the government’s goals is to bring more events to cities other than Taipei, especially Taichung and Kaohsiung. The Kaohsiung Exhibition Center was completed in 2014, and a Greater Taichung International Expo Center is scheduled to be ready for opening in 2021.
  • A “Meet Taiwan” promotional program funded by the government and operated by TAITRA is dedicated to making Taiwan better known internationally as a good place for MICE activities. Among Taiwan’s strong points, Yeh cited its scenic and cultural attractions, the friendliness of the people, the convenience and safety, and the diversity of the society.

The 2017 Universiade Summer Games to be held in Taipei August 19-30 will be one of the largest events ever staged in Taiwan. Another major event in the planning is the Rotary International Convention in 2021, with an estimated 36,000 participants.

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.”

Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Travel & Tourism Luncheon: 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade

Taiwan will be hosting the 29th Summer Universiade competition between August 19th-30th in Taipei City. The Universiade is an international multi-sport event, organized for university athletes by the International University Sports Federation (FISU).

The largest sporting event ever held in Taiwan, the 2017 Summer Universiade will bring over 12,000 participants — both athletes and delegates — from over 150 countries to Taiwan for 12 days of competition and education, sportsmanship and friendship. As the event presents unprecedented opportunities to revamp and transform Taipei City, Travel & Tourism Committee invited You Shih-ming, Deputy CEO of 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade in this luncheon session, to speak to our members and guests about the initiatives the city is involved in to prepare for the event.

29th Summer Universiade staff members with You Shih-ming , Deputy CEO of 2017 Taipei summer Universiade, Andrea Wu AmCham Taipei President, Travel and Tourism Co-Chairs: Anita Chen and Achim V. Hake

Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

AmCham Tours Dihua Street

The AmCham Travel & Tourism Committee hosted a special event on May 13, where Commissioner Yu-yen Chien of the Department of Information & Tourism of Taipei City 台北市政府觀光傳播局 簡余晏局長 delivered a presentation and hosted a Q&A session before guests were taken on a guided walking tour of the historic Dihua street area.


View the full photo gallery here.


Dihua Street is located in Datong District of Taipei City, with a total length of 800 meters. The street was built in the 1850s as a major trading center for Chinese herbs and medicines, dried goods, fabrics, and teas since it is near the Dadaocheng port. Since 1996, it has become a market place for Chinese New Year grocery shopping. Dihua Street is also a popular tourist attraction with historical architectures in traditional Fujian, Baroque and western styles.


This event was a special opportunity for AmCham members to engage with Taipei government agencies and take part in a unique format of interactive event. To learn more about AmCham events, and to see the upcoming event schedule, click here.