Taipei, Oct. 28 (CNA) Following the lead of Amway China Co., another large Chinese direct-marketing company has selected Taiwan as the incentive tour destination for its elite staff members, tourism officials said Wednesday.
Pro-Health Group, one of China's three largest direct-marketing firms, will send nearly 10,000 of its outstanding employees on incentive tours to Taiwan for sightseeing and learning, starting Friday, the officials said.
"The Pro-Health Group employees will visit Taiwan in seven batches on six-day tours that will focus on major tourist attractions in central and northern Taiwan, " said Yuan Kai-chih, a section chief at Taiwan's Tourism Bureau.
The Pro-Health tour groups are expected to bring an estimated NT$600 million (US$18.63 million) in tourism revenues to Taiwan, he added.
According to Yuan, the company had originally selected Japan as this year's incentive tour destination, but changed its plan and switched to Taiwan after a strong lobby from Taiwan's tourism authorities and tour operators.
Pro-Health Group Chairman Li Dao said at a news conference in Taipei Wednesday that one of the major factors in the company's choice of Taiwan was its employees' rising interest in and curiosity about Taiwan since cultural and commercial exchanges across the Taiwan Strait began to grow a couple years ago.
Praising Taiwan as having achieved many "world's firsts" in various fields, Li said he believes that the Pro-Health employees will be able to learn something from the Taiwan people's attitude to work and life and their perseverance.
Li said that although the staff members will be unable to tour the famous Alishan mountain resort because of damage wrought by Typhoon Morakot in August, they can visit Taipei 101 tower, which he described as one of the world's tallest buildings that symbolizes Taiwan's imagination and spirit of endurance.
In addition to visiting popular tourist spots, Li said, the Pro-Health tour groups will also visit a factory run by the Children Are Us Foundation and which employs people suffering from Down's Syndrome, cerebral palsy, multiple dysfunction and other disabilities.
"We believe the inclusion of the factory in our itinerary will make our Taiwan trip even more meaningful," Li added.
He further said his company is studying the feasibility of launching a venture in Taiwan and that Taiwan's technology and management talent pool are attractive factors.
Speaking on the same occasion, Tourism Bureau Director-General Janice Lai said Chinese authorities have approved the Pro-Health Group's large-scale Taiwan tour plan on a case-by-case basis.
For their part, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council and National Immigration Agency are giving their best efforts to accommodating the visits by the Pro-Health tour groups, which they see as "seeds" to help promote Taiwan's tourist attractions in the future, Lai said.
To the best of her knowledge, Lai said, many large Chinese enterprises are watching how the Pro-Health Group's Taiwan tours turn out.
"If the tours turn out to be successful and delightful, we believe more Chinese companies will follow suit," Lai said.
Amway China Co. picked Taiwan as its incentive tour destination in March this year and its employees made the trip aboard cruise liners.
"Those tour packages were easier to arrange, but the Pro-Health Group's travel packages are more complex, " Lai said, adding that the Tourism Bureau has devoted much manpower to assist with the arrangements.
From Oct. 30 through Nov. 24, some 10,0000 Pro-Health Group employees will visit Taiwan in seven batches of three groups each time on six-day-five-night tours that will take them to renowned sightseeing spots such as Citou, Lugang, Sun Moon Lake and Yehliu.
(By Liu Cheng-ching, Chen Shun-hsieh and Sofia Wu)