Three New York City tour buses that operate in the Manhattan area were decorated with pictures of Taiwanese temples on Monday as part of an effort to attract more tourists to the country.
The concept for the advertisements was based on Buddhist temples in Taiwan, said Thomas Chang (張維庭), head of the Tourism division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York.
From Monday, the tour buses, which operate for eight hours a day, are set to carry the advertisements for Taiwan, Chang said, adding that the promotional gimmick is scheduled to run until Sept. 26.
New York, with a population of over 8 million people and more than 50 million visitors annually, makes it the ideal place to promote Taiwan, he said.
The idea of the bus promotion is to have “a heart for culture” and to advertise Taiwan’s unique religious culture, including a dance by performers dressed as Taoist deities, Chang said. It is hoped that the temples would attract people to Taiwan, he added.
Meanwhile, recent government data showed that Hong Kong and Macau have become key sources of visitors to Taiwan, with an increasingly large number of travelers from the two areas arriving in the first five months of this year.
The number of tourist arrivals from the two areas reached 386,751 from January to last month, up 25.4 percent from the same period of the previous year, according to data compiled by the Hong Kong office of the Taiwan Visitors Association.
“The figure is the result of promotional efforts,” Tourism Bureau Deputy Director-General Chang Shi-chung (張錫聰) said.
Chang expressed hope that Hong Kong and Macau arrivals could hit more than 1 million for the year, adding that 817,000 tourists from the two semi-autonomous territories visited Taiwan last year.
The data also indicates that more visitors are now traveling to southern and central Taiwan rather than to the north, Chang said.
Unique bed-and-breakfast accommodation and local attractions in southern, central and eastern Taiwan offer potential for visitors from Hong Kong and Macau, Chang said.