Night markets lag in popularity: survey

CAPITAL IDEAS::With 87% of foreign visitors sampling Taipei’s attractions last year, a majority favored the city’s National Palace Museum, while night markets lagged

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Mar 14, 2013 - Page 3

More than 87 percent of foreign visitors visited Taipei last year during their stays in the nation, with consumption by tourists reaching US$6.4 billion, a survey released by Taipei City’s Department of Information and Tourism showed yesterday.

The survey, which looked at visitors’ travel experiences in Taipei, showed that the capital’s night markets, Taipei 101, the National Palace Museum, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall remained the five most visited attractions.

A follow-up question that asked tourists for their favorite of the city’s attractions, reported that 37 percent of visitors favored the National Palace Museum, 25 percent voted for Ximending (西門町) and 23 percent opted for Taipei 101.

The city’s night markets lagged behind with only 19 percent.

Taipei Association of Travel Agents director Tony Hsu (許禓哲) said negative news about overpriced fruit and other snacks at the Shilin Night Market, and the lack of variety in the food on offer, have made many foreign visitors, especially those from China, wary of visiting them.

“Many travel agencies are starting to bring groups of tourists to Raohe Street Night Market and Ningxia Night Market. I think the city government needs to work harder to improve service and eliminate overpricing at night markets,” he told a press conference at Taipei City Hall.

Concerns about overpriced food in Shilin Night Market have grown in the wake of a complaint filed to the Tourism Bureau by a group of Singaporean tourists last year, which said that a fruit stand in the night market charged them NT$1,800 for four custard apples, three times the usual price.

Department commissioner Chao Hsin-ping (趙心屏) said various factors could affect tourists’ impressions of the city’s night markets, and that the department will present the results of its survey to the Market Administration Office for consideration.

Lu Hung-yun (盧鴻鋆), a Shih Chien University professor who led the survey, said that while the survey found that 38 percent of foreign visitors were impressed by Taipei residents’ friendliness and another 36 percent said Taiwanese delicacies were impressive, many visitors complained about the large numbers of scooters on the streets and the lack of trash cans.

Chao defended the city government’s efforts to promote tourism and offer new attractions to foreign tourists, and said the results of the survey will be given to related departments so that they can make necessary improvements.

The survey was conducted between July and December last year and polled 1,832 foreign visitors. Questionnaires were given to participants at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) and Kaohsiung International Airport.