Taiwan promotes round-island biking with Web celebrities

A bicycle path near Sun Moon Lake.

A bicycle path near Sun Moon Lake. (By Central News Agency)

Taipei (CNA) - Taiwan is aiming to attract more international tourists to experience Taiwan on two wheels, the Tourism Bureau said Saturday, adding that it has launched an English-language website featuring so-called "Internet celebrities" traveling around the country on their bikes.

As Taiwan is well-established in the bicycle industry and has developed more cycling-related infrastructure and tourism services in recent years, it is time to go a step further to integrate those resources and make it a major attraction for international tourists, said Joseph Cheng, section chief of the Tourism Bureau's International Division.

While there is already a lot of biking information online, it is rather small and region-based, such as the Sun Moon Lake biking trail, which falls short of giving a bigger picture of biking across Taiwan as a unique travel style, Cheng told CNA.

The bureau's idea is to put the separate information together and provide a round-the-island cycling solution that even independent tourists can use, he said.

Cheng said that over the past eight months, the bureau has worked with Fox Networks Group to invite eight "Internet celebrities" to try out the travel experience, which was filmed and featured on the website: http://www.taiwanon2wheels.com

The celebrities include Indo-German actress Evelyn Sharma, Australian host and chef Hayden Quinn, as well as Filipina-German Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach -- who between them have more than 17 million online followers.

Their experiences are not only interesting but also inspiring because it suggests that going around Taiwan on two wheels is not as physically demanding as imagined, he said.

"What we are trying to do is to give confidence to international tourists attempting to do in-depth travel in Taiwan," Cheng said.

The website also comprises details of numerous routes that together form a round-the-island biking network of 866.3 kilometers, tips on pre-trip planning and recommendations for scenic spots, events and festivals.

A website launch ceremony will be held Monday, to be attended by Quinn, who will share his personal experiences. (By Lee Hsin-Yin)