Sustainable Tourism, Thrived after the pandemic in Taiwan

Sustainable Tourism in Taiwan

While the world is still suffering from the Covid-19, Taiwan domestic tourism still having amazing performance based on the well-oriented epidemic prevention system. After the booming of domestic tourism, society started to discuss the over tourism and sustainable tourism. Due to the over-tourism in a certain isolated island and remote area in Taiwan, the citizens are feeling very frustrated about the insufficient transportation and tourism infrastructure.
Sustainable tourism development is not a new phenomenon. Before the booming in the domestic tourism, the Taiwan government had already begun to implement programs involving five strategies to create an innovative, sustainable, localized, and happy industry, diversify and add value in the tourism industry.

▲DEFINING SUSTAINABLE TOURISM (from: skift.com)

“Tourism2020—Taiwan Sustainable Tourism Development Plan”

To provide a safe environment to fulfill tourism social responsibility. The program aimed to develop and diversify international markets and strengthen the base of domestic tourism in which will help to shape Taiwan as a “friendly, smart, and experiential” tourist destination in Asia. These initiatives also sought to generate some positive effort of tourism development in Taiwan and spur the growth of the local economy and peripheral
industries.

▲Tourism2020—Taiwan Sustainable Tourism Development Plan (from:Tourism Bureau, Taiwan)

There are five important area that the government focus on:

1.Expanding the Experiential Tourism

– Help the 13 national scenic area to established the travel route concepts.

– From the year of 2017 -20 promote the 2017 Year of Eco Tourism, 2018 Year of Bay Tourism, 2019 Year of Small-Town Ramble and 2020 Year of Mountain Tourism.

In 2018 a contest was held to enhance the awareness of coastal resource conservation, a total of 97 joint environment cleanup activities were organized. Which generate more than NT$5.7billion in economic benefits. The participants is more than 30,000 people, and had removed more than 90,000 tons of trash.

– Assisted the indigenous tribal tourism branding. And identified the special products and help to select marketing channels.

2.Developing Smart Tourism

– Established the iTravel mobile service system and added functions for self-planned itineraries on the Tourism Bureau website and Tour Taiwan app.

– Keep Enhancing the quality of Taiwan Tourist Shuttle, Taiwan Tour Bus, and Tourist Information Station services.

3.Guiding Industry Transformation

– Promote the e-commerce business

– Provided guidance to the hotel industry to adopt to the international market and strengthen regulation of the illegal business to enhance travel safety.

-Strengthened the training for guides and introduced the licensing system.

4.Invigorating Domestic Travel

– Assist travel agencies in development of in-depth specialty and high-quality tour packages.

– Promote the Taiwan Tourism New Year Calendar. Promote “Cross area and Overnight Travel.”

– Introduced subsidies for revitalization of Hualien and southern Taiwan bay areas, warm winter travel, and other measures to expand domestic tourism.

5.Expanding and Diversifying Markets

– Focus on the Japan and South Korea market and advancing to the Southeast Asia markets. Also defend the market share in Europe, US and China.

– Develop the local characteristics and diversity.

▲Tourism2020—Taiwan Sustainable Tourism Development Plan (from: Tourism Bureau, Taiwan)

Taiwan Local Sustainable Tourism Case Sharing

The LNT Ocean Kayaking (Leave no trace Ocean Kayaking 無痕海洋) is the local activities provider.In consists of the local Hualien Open Water Lifeguard Certificate of Sports Administration, and experienced outdoor instructors.

▲LNT Ocean Kayaking (from:lntokayak)

The LNT Ocean Kayaking had 3 main subjects to practice on each activity they hold for the participants, Leave No Trace, water safety education, and the most worthwhile passenger experience.

From the kayaking or SUP session that holds by the LNT, despite the magnificent landscape of the Hualien cliff-ocean view, the instructors mentioned the importance of the nature preservation. And combined with the local geographical and marine knowledge, the experience is not just about the scenery or exercise only but also the knowledge of the environment.

Water safety education is one of the fundamental lessons in the activity. Life-saving skills are the most important to protect ourselves from water related activities. To practice the skill the instructor will ask the participants to lean down on the beach, stretch hands toward and held up the head, after the wave is coming and floating the participants toward the shore, the instructor will ask the participants to get up and run toward the safety spot. This lesson can lead the participants to get into the mood of respecting the mother nature and pay more attention to the surrounding in which also helps to prevent the potential danger.

▲LNT Ocean Kayaking (from:lntokayak

After the experience, it had a 20mins session to introduce the local marine life, the stationary fishing net, and leave no trace idea. As we can see each individual will be able to learn from the short lesson and take the responsibility of taking care of the surrounding, which in the Hawaiian language “Malama” to protect and to preserve. Starts from the individual, that’s how sustainable can be achieved, the instructor said: “please give yourself a change to serve the environment today by just doing one simple action that you definitely can establish. Tell the restaurant or tea shop that you will no need the straw or you will use your own water bottle to take your drink. Save one plastic container or accessories can help the environment a lot.”

from: unsplash

Although the survey of the “Attitude-Behaviour Gap” shows that the individuals feel increasingly responsible for their impact on the environment; however, this does not necessarily translate to action. It indicates in 30% of the respondents claimed to be ethical consumers, only 3% are buying ethical products. But if done with the experiential education the performance will be enhanced. What LNT Ocean Kayaking did had been an important influence for the local stakeholder. By the experiential activity, the result of the action to preserve the environment will be promoted.

The information of the LNT activity can also be found on the online platform as KKday, Klook, which provides more accessibilities for tourists to experience and participate in the LNT action.

▲ Hualien, Taiwan. (from:unsplash)

Can someday Sustainable Tourism can be taken as Granted?

“Sustainable Tourism or responsible tourism” from the definition only shows a part of all tourism. Within 10 years, all tourism will have to be sustainable and responsible. As Fabian Cousteau said at the WTTC Global Summit 2016: I look forward to the day when there is no sustainable tourism. Just tourism.  The tourists increasingly expecting the activities they selected can be environmentally and socially responsible.

The tourism industries can see sustainable and responsible development as an opportunity to improve the current products and work together with all stakeholders, local communities, employees, guests, and competitors. Collaboration will be crucial for the success of the tourism industry and the tourists.