Local manufacturers are looking at factory tours for independent Chinese tourists as a source of extra income.
The goal is to promote the manufacturing industry, which made significant contributions to Taiwan’s rapid economic growth from the 1950s to the 1990s, a group of manufacturers said in a recent interview.
The tourism-promotion scheme is also a way to help the mostly traditional industries generate extra income, they said.
Tourists can visit factories manufacturing textiles, processed food, soap, healthcare products and salt and salt-related products, or go on a winery tour.
“This provides an alternative experience for Chinese tourists,” said Wu Shih-chang (吳世長), chairman of the textile company King Young Enterprise Co (縉陽).
In March, his company launched a project with nearby factories to devise ways of attracting independent Chinese visitors, including Taiwan Glass Gallery, Show Chwan Health and Medical Science Museum and Brand’s Health Museum. All are located in the Changhua Coastal Industrial Park in central Taiwan.
Since Chinese tourists have been allowed to visit Taiwan independently, there has been a significant increase in the number of Chinese tourists visiting the park, Wu said. However, the park’s location presents a problem because it is difficult to reach, he said.
“One of our concerns is the lack of a transportation service to our park,” Wu said. “Smooth transfers are what matter most to backpackers.”
Another challenge is how best to promote the tours, according to Hsu Fung-shung (許峰勝), founder of the coffee maker Gozinnovation (果子創新).
“The key is to use social networks to communicate with young independent travelers and get their immediate attention,” he said.
Hsu has set up a personal blog and accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Plurk, MSN and China’s QQ site.
Another strategy is to integrate and coordinate the efforts and resources of the members of the Taiwan Tourism Factory Association through frequent seminars and field trips, including going to Japan to learn how the Japanese promote factory tours, the association’s chairman I Jung-chang (易榮昌) said.
“We will take 40 members to Japan to visit Kyoto and Osaka this November,” he said. “The Yakult Company and local wineries will serve as our learning models.”
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