Sat, Jul 04, 2009 - Page 1 News List

More than a thousand teams enter Taiwan contest

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

A total of 1,123 teams from 44 countries and areas around the world have registered to take part in a contest to design the best itinerary for a tour of Taiwan — part of the government’s efforts to promote tourism.

Tourism Bureau officials said the US boasted the largest number of participants for the “Best Trip in the World — Taiwan Explorers Wanted” contest with 97. Hong Kong came in second with 94, while Japan and India had 70 each, the officials said.

Contestants come from a wide variety of countries including Iraq, Israel, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Nigeria, the officials said.

Anyone was eligible to enter the contest, as long as his or her team has at least two people and at least one team member is not Taiwanese. Registration ended on Tuesday.

Two French teenagers came up with an itinerary featuring stays at tourism farms to get first-hand experiences of rural life, while a German couple intended to visit Taiwan on a quest for delicious dumplings.

A group of South Korean female college students plan to make a “chase the pop idol” trip to Taiwan, with local boy band Fahrenheit (飛輪海) their prime target.

Meanwhile, a Malaysian team has shown keen interest in Taiwan’s indigenous culture and has submitted a plan to visit four Aboriginal communities. The team will catalog each community’s special features or representative songs to serve as theme songs for the videos they will make to record their trip.

An Australian couple in their 70s plans to scale Yushan (玉山).

The Tourism Bureau is scheduled to announce the 50 teams with the best itineraries on Friday. Each team will get NT$7,000 per day for up to four days, or NT$28,000 in total, to spend on their travels.

The teams must pay their own way to Taiwan between July 11 and Aug. 31 to qualify for the travel subsidies, although the bureau will help them obtain discounts from Taiwanese air carriers.

During their trips, the winning teams must upload a short video about their daily adventures, along with a 200-word description, on the official contest Web site. After their departure, they must upload an 800-word travel note plus a video for the second stage of the contest.

The team that generates the most interest online stands the best chance of winning the grand prize of NT$1 million (US$30,000) and the opportunity to travel around Taiwan for a month next year, a trip that will be used to promote Taiwan as a travel destination.

The Tourism Bureau will announce the winning team by Nov. 15, with online voting results serving as part of the selection criteria.

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