The Tourism Bureau on Friday (Jan. 17) unveiled 40 recommended itineraries for alpine travel in Taiwan as the centerpiece of its campaign to market 2020 as the Year of Mountain Tourism.
The bureau released one extensive itinerary for each of seven main mountainous areas around Taiwan and another 33 shorter itineraries that borrow from the longer recommended trips, but no accompanying transportation options were provided.
Transportation Minister Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said Taiwan is well-positioned for mountain tourism because its breathtaking mountain landscapes, aboriginal cultures, and historic trails all provide unique travel experiences.
The itineraries are diverse enough that independent and group tourists should find options that suit their interests and physical capacities, said Lin, whose ministry oversees the Tourism Bureau.
The two major itineraries in the north cover the northeastern part of Taiwan, from Yangmingshan National Park to Yilan County and the Taipingshan Forest Recreation Area; and the Hsinchu-Miaoli area featuring Dabajian Mountain and the Guanwu National Forest Recreation Area.
In central Taiwan, where Taiwan's highest mountains are located, there are three major itineraries.
One features Hehuanshan and Taroko National Park, one covers Qilai Mountain, Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area and Sun Moon Lake, and the third, which is further south, encompasses Jade Mountain and the popular Alishan National Forest Recreation Area.
There are also two main itineraries for southern Taiwan -- one tying together Chiaming Lake and Xiangyang Mountain close to the border between Taitung and Kaoshiung and the other spanning Mount Kavulungan in Pingtung and the Maolin Scenic Area in Kaohsiung.
Each of the seven routes usually takes seven days to complete, and they start and end at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, the country's main gateway, the bureau said.
No transportation information or options were provided on how to get from one place to another, but the bureau is hoping local travel agencies will embrace the itineraries and develop packages around them.
The campaign is expected to boost the economies of mountain areas, which often rely on tourism for survival.
The bureau said a smaller mountain tourism program in the popular Alishan area last year hosted 192 visitors with 16 groups and generated NT$1.92 million (US$63,000) in revenue, and it has projected 1,200 visitors taking similar trips this year and injecting NT$12 million into the local economy.