Rising enthusiasm for factory tourism among domestic and overseas tourists will help the sector’s revenue grow 25 percent this year from a year earlier, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said on Saturday.
The ministry projected tourism factory sector revenue to rise to NT$2.5 billion (US$83.33 million) this year, up from the NT$2 billion recorded last year.
Visits to tourism factories are expected to rise to 11.5 million this year, from about 10 million last year, the ministry added.
It has actively promoted the niche tourism sector since 2003 to provide a new source of income to manufacturers of traditional products that have been losing their competitive edge largely due to higher labor costs.
The project blends industrial culture and tourism by converting select factories into popular tourist destinations, the ministry said.
Under the program, run by the Industrial Technology Research Institute, the ministry screens old factories and selects several a year to be transformed into tourist attractions.
The factories refurbished this year include the Kuo Yuan Ye Museum of Cake and Pastry — which has branches in Yangmei (楊梅), Taoyuan County, and Taipei — and the Zhong Xin Rice Castle based in Changhua County.
Founded in 1867, Kuo Yuan Ye (郭元益) is one of the nation’s oldest traditional cake and pastry brands. The brand established the museum in 2001 to offer the public a glimpse into its traditional pastry-making process.
The Zhong Xin Rice Castle, set up by local rice brand Zhong Xin Rice (中興米) four years ago, is a European-style castle complex that gives visitors a taste of the area’s rice culture.
The ministry said it has worked with other governmental agencies to find more resources for the project, as well as applying information and communications technology to its promotional efforts.