TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Experts and industry representatives from 17 countries and areas are gathering Saturday at Alishan National Scenic Area of Chiayi County to discuss the promotion of ecotourism and sustainable development of indigenous cultures.
The annual conference of the Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN), a regional association endorsing ecotourism, will open this Saturday, followed by a three-day tour of the Tsou indigenous villages in Alishan from Jan. 21 to 23.
The conference aims to bring about exchanges and collaboration among governments and industry representatives in Taiwan with their counterparts in neighboring countries on affairs ranging from ecotourism, the preservation of indigenous cultures, and environmental protection, said the organizer, the Taiwan Ecotourism Association (TEA), which became a member of AEN in 2016.
It will also give Taiwan an opportunity to exhibit its resources and services regarding ecotourism, thus attracting more foreigners to travel to Taiwan, added TEA.
The conference will be joined by experts and industry representatives coming from 17 countries and areas, including Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore, China, and other southeast Asian nations. It will also be the first time the annual AEN conference is held outside Thailand, where AEN is headquartered.
In addition to the conference on Saturday, the delegates will take part in a three-day tour around a number of indigenous villages in Alishan mountainous areas, exploring the Tsou people’s way of life, manufacturing of crafts, and production of traditional cuisine. They will also visit the Alishan National Scenic Area, which features a number of trails tracing up the mountains, the Alishan forest railway, and abundant natural resources.
Through the tour, we hope the delegates will get a better understanding of the booming development of ecotourism in Taiwan and the indigenous cultures enlivening Alishan, said TEA.
According to AEN, ecotourism is characterized by people traveling to natural areas with respect to the environment. It also provides local people with social and economical means to sustain their well-being.