Tue, Sep 04, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Taipei opens local tourism center

MAP of THE PAST:A new facility located in Taipei’s oldest commercial hub is promising to reveal to travelers all the city’s best, secret nooks and crannies

By Shelley Shan and Ho Yi  /  Staff reporters

Tourism Bureau Deputy Director-General Wayne Liu, second right, and guests stand next to a person dressed as the god of longevity at the launch of a cultural zone in the Dadaocheng area of Taipei’s Datong District yesterday.

Photo: Chen Wei-tzu, Taipei Times

The Tourism Bureau yesterday unveiled the South Village in a bid to promote the many wonders hidden in Taipei’s nooks and crannies and added the city’s Dadaocheng area (大稻埕) as the latest item in its “International Spotlight” of the nation’s northern region.

Dadaocheng, which covers the area encircled by Chongqing N Road, Minsheng W Road, Zhonghxiao W Road and the Tamsui River (淡水河) and falls within the Datong District (大同) administration, was Taipei’s economic and cultural center during the Qing Dynasty as well as during the Japanese colonial period. It is home to many of the nation’s tourist attractions, including Dihua Street, Taipei Xiahai City God Temple and the Hsiao Hsi Yuan Stage.

Tourism Bureau Deputy Director-General Wayne Liu (劉喜臨) said the International Spotlight project, launched in 2009, did not involve large construction projects and would focus on the lives of Taiwanese in presentations aimed at foreign tourists.

“In Taipei, for example, we do not need to develop new tourism resources by building another skyscraper,” he said. “Rather, we should use the lives of Taiwanese in the streets, lanes and alleys to touch international travelers. They can choose the buildings or the flowers they like and experience the history of the place and discover the stories that moved them.”

Liu said the project not only targeted foreign tourists, but local travelers who wish to explore the country’s rich history and diverse culture.

The South Village, which is part of the International Spotlight project, was launched yesterday to highlight the unique shops, traditional stores and other establishments hidden in the city’s nooks and crannies, the organizers said.

“Tourism is a big industry, but it can also be as small as an item or article used in everyday life,” Lulu Han (韓良露), head of the South Village said. “Visiting shops and stores are a good way to experience local life and learn about local culture.”

A tourist guidebook available at the South Village, which looks at Taipei’s Dadaocheng, Beitou (北投) and Da-an (大安) districts, gives detailed introductions to local history, the natural environment and attractions which lie off the beaten track.

Readers of the Beitou guidebook, for example, can find out about the old hot spring hotels built during the period of Japanese rule, including Longnaitang, as well as familiarizing themselves with local traditional markets, such as Beitou Market.

In addition to the guidebooks, the organizers also put together tourist maps of the three areas, containing dozens of walking routes that usually take about 90 minutes to complete.

All tourist information is available in Chinese, English and Japanese and can be obtained at the South Village, which is located in Taipei at 10, Lane 80, Shida Rd, Taipei and online through the project’s Web site: www.tteacafe.tw. To meet the needs of digital users, related applications are expected to be available for downloading in November, the organizers said.

Among other International Spotlight undertakings, the eastern region project (www.easternspot.com), managed by the Lovely Taiwan Foundation, offers comprehensive information on travelling in Chihshang (池上), Taitung, Hualien and Gangkou (港口) — an Amis Aboriginal village in Hualien County. Organized by iSee Taiwan Foundation, the central region project (www.lohaspot.com.tw) focuses on Taichung, while the southern station (www.nanspot.tw), which was recently launched by the 21st Century Foundation, starts the tourism venture in Greater Tainan.

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