Sat, May 09, 2009 - Page 4 News List

City's tourism pick challenged

CONFUCIUS TEMPLE A DPP councilor accused the city government of pandering to the president by choosing a site that promotes Chinese rather than Taiwanese culture

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Children dressed in traditional costume perform a traditional dance at Taipei Confucius Temple on Feb. 26.

PHOTO: HUNG MIN-LONG, TAIPEI TIMES

A councilor yesterday challenged Taipei City Government's choice of the Confucius Temple as the city's representative tourist attraction.

Taipei and 22 other cities and counties are competing in the Tourism Bureau's search for five top attractions that offer rich tourism potential. Selected sites will each receive NT$300 million (US$9 million) for local authorities to promote the attraction.

Taipei City Government proposed the Confucius Temple and drafted a plan on how to use the NT$300 million to promote and market the site.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤) questioned the city government's selection of the temple over other popular attractions that better reflect Taiwanese culture, such as the Longshan Temple in Wanhua District (萬華).

“The proposal says that the Confucius Temple and Confucius culture should be promoted because of the recent rise of China. What kind of logic is that?” Wu said at Taipei City Council.

Wu accused the city government of pandering to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) by choosing the temple to promote Chinese culture.

“Longshan Temple is the second-most popular attraction in Taipei among foreign tourists, while the Confucius Temple attracts only 200,000 visitors a year. Why did you choose a less popular spot?” she asked.

Statistics from the city's Tourism and Information Department showed that the top five most popular attractions in Taipei among foreign visitors between 2006 and last year were the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taipei Zoo, the National Palace Museum, Taiwan Science Museum and the Sun Yat-sen Memorial.

The five most visited attractions in Taipei City among local and foreign tourists combined between 2006 and last year were the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Longshan Temple, Taipei Zoo, Sun Yat-sen Memorial and the National Palace Museum, the statistics showed.

The Taipei Confucius Temple was not even in the list of the most visited local spots among Chinese tourists, Wu said.

Yang Hsiao-tung (羊曉東), commissioner of the Department of Tourism and Information, said the department chose the Confucius Temple because it had great potential to become a new big attraction in Taipei City.

“Longshan Temple is already an internationally renowned tourist attraction. What we are looking for is a tourist spot with potential, and the Confucius Temple fits that category,” he said.

Wu said that tourist spots proposed by other local governments, such as the Fengchia Night Market in Taichung City and the Tungshan River in Ilan County, were more competitive than the Taipei Confucius Temple. She urged the city government to reconsider its choice if it wanted to win the competition.

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