Abundant natural beauty, free internet at every major hotel in the country, friendly and helpful locals, plenty of bargains and no need for visitor visas – that’s Taiwan in 2015.
The 2015 Taiwan Roadshow drew travel agents to the Westin Sydney on Monday evening as Taiwanese travel providers outlined the latest product.
Workshops were conducted by Connie Chang of Golden Foundation Tours, Fion Chang of My Taiwan Tour, Willy Han of Happy Go Travel Service, Paul Hsieh of Edison Travel Service and Michael Thomson of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts.
China Airlines, which links Taipei to Sydney and Brisbane and next month will begin services to Melbourne, was also well represented.
Entertainers from Taiwan’s indigenous cultures (the forefathers of New Zealand’s Maori people, according to DNA research) put on a memorable show.
The roadshow moves to Melbourne tonight, Wednesday 16 September, at the Westin Melbourne, 5.30pm. Then tomorrow, Thursday 17 September, the roadshow will hit Queensland, at the Hilton Brisbane, 5.30pm.
Taiwan, sometimes called Formosa, reminds some people of China and others of Japan. In fact Taiwan reflects a mix of Chinese, Western, Japanese and indigenous influences.
As one of the most-respected travel guidebooks, the Rough Guides, observes, accurately: “Taiwan remains largely undiscovered and seriously underrated by Western travellers, but those that make it here are in for a real treat.”
Taiwan’s superb food and festivals impress visitors. The country also boasts a dramatic and lesser-known hinterland, which includes the phenomenal Taroko Gorge. There are eight national parks, offshore islands and hot-spring resorts.
Another observation from Rough Guides: “One of the most endearing things about the island is the overwhelming friendliness of its people – Taiwan is one of the most welcoming countries in the world, and you are bound to encounter numerous acts of generosity or kindness throughout your travels, whether it’s a taxi driver rounding down a fare, a stranger helping with directions or a family providing a bed for the night.”
Written by Peter Needham