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Tourism Bureau looks to indigenous villages as tourist draw

Tourism Bureau looks to indigenous villages as tourist draw

Taipei, Feb. 23 (CNA) As it strives to attract 10 million foreign arrivals in 2015, the Tourism Bureau has launched a three-year program to help transform 10 indigenous communities in the eastern county of Hualien into tourist spots. The government's investment could be rewarding since indigenous villages are popular among visitors from Hong Kong and Macau, which made up 1.4 million of the 9.9 million international arrivals to Taiwan last year, showing a growth of 20 percent from the year before. Ma Whei-da (???), director of the East Coast National Scenic Area Administration, said that 10 villages in coastal areas have been able to take over the operation of tourism after partnership with the bureau, including Cawi (??), Sibilian (??) and Pisilian (????) villages. He now aims to travel into the less populous mountains where villages do not fall under his administration thanks to close cooperation with the Council of Indigenous Peoples. Ma said he has been in contact with villages such as Palatan (??) to discuss the potential for developing a tourism industry. "The key is how the villages wish to run their tourism because it has to be sustainable," he said. Baobao (??), who calls herself a public relations specialist for Palatan, said her community desperately needs to develop know-how to generate revenue. Although there are many tourists to the town each year, most of them are merely stopping through after rafting in nearby streams and do not spend money. "We want to build up a tangible local economy so our young people will be willing to stay in the village," said the representative from Palatan, which like many other indigenous villages sees a flight of young people heading to cities in search of better prospects. According to Ma, around 10,000 tourists visit the villages under his administration every year, and he hopes that efforts on his part can help both to draw more visitors and create "in-depth" travel options. (By Lee Hsin-Yin)


Updated : 2021-09-16 18:59 GMT+08:00