Taiwan launches 'universal design' contest to boost accessibility at scenic areas

The contest offers prize awards totaling NT$800,000

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A mesmerizing picture of Matsu's famous 'blue tears' (Photo by Facebook 馬祖愛趴GO)

A mesmerizing picture of Matsu's famous 'blue tears' (Photo by Facebook 馬祖愛趴GO)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Tourism Bureau has kicked off a universal design competition targeting the island’s scenic spots in a bid to create a more travel-friendly environment, the agency announced in a press release on June 5.

According to Tourism Bureau, Taiwan has officially become an aging society with the number of seniors aged 65 or older exceeding 14 percent of the total population this March. In light of this, the government seeks to promote the well-being of the elderly and the disabled through improved infrastructure and services in the travel industry that hopefully will encourage their participation in recreational activities.

The contest, with a combined prize value of NT$800,000 (US$26,728), invites innovative design ideas that will help make the 13 national scenic areas across the island more alluring to tourists with special needs.

Divided into the categories of “Travel Route & Environmental Design (遊憩動線及環境設計)” and “Service Design & Creative Technology (服務設計與創意科技),” the competition welcomes proposals incorporating the concept of accessibility while employing technologies and various mediums.

Chou Yung-Hui (周永暉), Director-general of the Tourism Bureau, reckoned that the initiative aims to allow every individual to indulge themselves in a barrier-free travel experience. Tourists who find aquatic activities challenging due to physical restraints should be able to take a close look at the stunning scene of Matsu’s “blue tears” and the visually-impaired should be offered an opportunity to learn about Taiwan’s rich ecosystems by touch, he added.

Submissions will be accepted between now and August 22. Visit "107年度國家風景區通用設計創意競賽" to learn more about the design competition and the information sessions to be held in many places on the island.