Tue, Feb 01, 2005 - Page 4 News List

CCA wants people out over holidays

SIGHTSEEING PROGRAM The Council for Cultural Affairs's ``Spring Outings'' aims to motivate people to visit museums, exhibitions and historic townships

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

With the launch of its "Cultural Spring Outings" program for the Lunar New Year holiday, the Council for Cultural Affairs (CCA) hopes to draw people away from the mahjong table by encouraging them to rediscover the culture and historical beauty of Taiwan.

"Lunar New Year is a time people return to their hometown and reunite with families. Instead of being a couch potato or playing mahjong, people can use the break to visit local cultural or historical sites. I think the program provides a creative solution in search of a healthier and culture-rich vacation," said CCA Chairman Chen Chi-nan (陳其南).

Chen said the "Culture Spring Outings" program represents the council's 10-year effort to rebuild the nation's community through culture and preserving traditional arts.

Many cities and towns have changed with new museums, performing art centers or revitalized historic sites. According to Chen, visiting these places or joining activities gives many travelers, especially those who rarely return home, a great chance to discover their hometown's new look.

To help promote its holiday program, the council invited President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to be its spokesman.

In an advertisement directed by Wu Nien-jen (吳念真), the president urged people to get closer to history, wisdom and everyone around them. Getting involved in the program's outings, Chen said, will help people spend the holiday creatively and heartily.

The council came up with five themes for the program: performing arts, culture family, vital community, historical and public architecture and gourmet food.

According to the council, the name "Spring Outings" comes from the traditional Lunar New Year pastime of going out for a walk on New Year's Day to bring luck and fortune back home.

In an effort to encourage people to celebrate the custom by joining a cultural tour, the council has published pamphlets on cultural or art activities and facilities in 25 counties and cities around the country.

Chen suggested people to use the pamphlets as tour guides to design their own cultural, historical and even culinary tours.

"Candy World 2005 in Tainan, for example, could be a great stop in a culture spring walk tour. There are a lot of private museums in Yilan. Or people can visit Shikan Township in Taichung County to see how the town was rebuilt after the 921 Earthquake," Chen Chi-nan said.

The council is working with the online travel agency ezTravel to provide local tour spots and activity information. The agency said it is working on providing maps and directions to all tour spots on its Web site in the future,.

People can also visit the program's Web site to get more information (http://101.cca.gov.tw/).

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