Taiwan tourism workers in Yilan, Chiayi stand out in English proficiency

Nationwide survey conducted by National Development Council yielded surprising results

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Tourism Bureau Visitor Information Center (photo from Tourism Bureau)

Tourism Bureau Visitor Information Center (photo from Tourism Bureau)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- In mid-July, Taiwan’s National Development Council (NDC) conducted a national survey of the English language ability among staff at tourist information booths and government guides at sightseeing attractions throughout the country.

The survey was conducted from July 14 through July 22 as part of the “Blueprint for a Bilingual Country by 2030” initiative launched by the Tsai administration. Surprisingly, the top performers by region were found in the counties of Chiayi and Yilan.

One major goal of the initiative is to promote bilingualism in Taiwan’s public service sector to ensure communicative competence with non-native Mandarin or Chinese speakers in Taiwan. The survey was conducted by hiring two foreign teachers named Wes and Talya, according to the CNA report.

The two teachers traveled all over Taiwan and secretly evaluated the English proficiency of the Tourism Bureau employees they came in contact with. According to the evaluation, 80 percent of tourist stations in Chiayi and 70 percent of stations in Yilan received an “excellent” result.

The July survey reveals that some of the best English language speakers employed in Taiwan's tourism industry are working outside of the big metropolitan centers. In addition to the English ability they observed, Wes and Talya were also very touched by the helpful and friendly nature of staff throughout the country.