Thu, Dec 23, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Officials perform the ‘Taike dance’ to promote EU as a tourism destination

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Head of the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) Guy Ledoux and representatives from several offices of EU member states in Taiwan yesterday joined Taiwanese cartoonist Wan Wan (彎彎) to perform the “Taike dance” to promote the EU as a tourist destination.

The event was held to coincide with the promulgation yesterday of the EU’s decision to lift Schengen visa requirements for Republic of China passports holders.

“Today is a very special day. We finally know the day when Taiwanese citizens can visit the EU without a visa, and that will be Jan. 11,” Ledoux said at an event also held to launch a cartoon produced by Wan Wan that recounts her recent visit to the EU.

Ledoux said the EETO came up with the idea to invite Wan Wan to visit six EU countries from June 16 to July 5 this year in order that Taiwanese could “know more about the EU” in preparation for the visa-waiver treatment that was signed by the Representative of the European Council and the President of the European Parliament on Wednesday last week.

“The EU is open to all Taiwanese visitors” for the purposes of not only travel, but also business and science and technology research, Ledoux said.

With the inclusion of Taiwan in its visa-waiver program, the EU expects a significant increase in the the number of Taiwanese tourists visiting after the UK and New Zealand saw the number of Taiwanese visitors increase by between 35 percent and 40 percent after they waived visa obligations.

According to the ETTO, the EU received about 175,000 visa applications last year for short stay visas, while an average of 310,000 Taiwanese travel to Europe each year.

The “Taike dance” is a temple fair dance that was introduced during the opening ceremony of the Kaohsiung World Games. It was dubbed the “Taike dance” because of its strong Taiwanese folk characteristics.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY sTAFF wRITER, WITH cna

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