Sat, Apr 26, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Dubai newspaper sees ‘mini-Tokyo’ in Taipei’s urbanity

Staff writer, with CNA

Taipei’s culture history, beautiful scenery and gourmet food were highlighted in an article earlier this month published in Gulf News, the Middle East’s best-selling English-language newspaper.

“The city offers a heady mix of curated history, views to die for and, of course, endless shopping and food,” deputy opinion editor Omar Shariff wrote in the special report called “Exploring Taipei, the city that never sleeps.”

Shariff said that in the 1980s and 1990s, the word Taiwan conjured images of factories producing quality electronic goods and toys, and that the nation was not known as a leisure destination.

“But standing at the balcony of the Lalu Hotel, sipping delicious plum tea and staring at the mist-laden waters of Sun Moon Lake, I could see why the early European settlers called the country Formosa, meaning ‘beautiful’ in Portuguese,” Shariff wrote in the Dubai-based daily.

“It is a sort of mini-Tokyo, with neon lights, an ultra-efficient public transport system, colossal pedestrian crossings near metro stations and unusually busy people preoccupied with their smartphones,” he said.

The article also listed several must-see sites, such as Taipei 101 and the National Palace Museum.

“This treasure trove houses the world’s largest collection of Chinese art — about 796,000 artifacts, spanning 8,000 years of Chinese history,” Shariff said.

In a bid to draw travelers from the Middle East and India, the Tourism Bureau and the Chinese Muslim Association are working to increase the number of halal outlets in the country, he wrote.

Hsieh Chang-ming (謝長明), director of the Tourism Bureau’s Singapore office, is responsible for promoting tourism in the Middle East and said that it is a market with great potential for Taiwan to expand its tourism.

The bureau is to take part next month in the Arabian Travel Market Exhibition, the region’s leading travel trade show dedicated to unlocking business potential in the Middle East, Hsieh said.

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