Aboriginal tourism to be added to butterfly festival

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 - Page 3

An annual butterfly-watching festival in Greater Kaohsiung will for the first time introduce Aboriginal tourism this year in an effort to revitalize local economies that remain weak after Typhoon Morakot battered the area in 2009, officials said yesterday.

The butterfly-watching festival in Maolin District (茂林), which runs from Nov. 17 to March 31 next year, will offer package tours that will also allow visitors a glimpse into the daily lives of the people living in the area, Maolin National Scenic Area section chief Ho Hsiu-lin (何秀玲) said.

The massive butterfly migration that takes place in the area already enjoys worldwide fame, so the Tourism Bureau wanted to exploit its tourism potential, Ho said.

Ho said her office would seek the help of the Kungadavane and Oponoho people who live in the region, in the hope that they will help develop tourism in the area.

The two groups are subsets of the Rukai tribe, which is recognized by the government as a Taiwanese Aboriginal tribe.

Since they are known for growing black millet and building stone-slab houses, Ho said these cultural aspects, along with the butterflies, would be the theme of the tours.

Ho expressed the hope that the campaign would attract more than 10,000 tourists a year — the level before the Morakot disaster — and create more than NT$5 million (US$171,000) in revenue during the festival.