Taitung reinforces slow tourism appeal in Hong Kong market

The Transportation and Tourism Development Department of Taitung, Taiwan is in Hong Kong this week to fire up travel interest and explore charter flight arrangements to boost access between the two points.

The eight-member delegation, led by director Jessie Chiang, comprises hoteliers and travel agents. Hong Kong is the first stop for this initiative. Across September 6 to 9, the delegation will provide Hong Kong trade partners with tourism updates.

Taitung pitches a slow tourism angle to Hong Kong travellers (photo by Prudence Lui)

Slow travel in Taitung campaign is aimed at Hong Kong consumers, designed to show off the destination’s pollution-free appeal, long coastline, two offshore islands, seven indigenous ethnicities, stargazing opportunities, and versatile festivals such as Taiwan International Balloon Festival. It is hoped that Hong Kong residents will be encouraged to stay on longer in Taitung for their holidays.

Kingdom Travel’s business manager, Joy Huang, shared that visitors from Hong Kong can now explore the Palan tribal site of Ulivelivek, located 15km from Taitung city, through a new itinerary. There are half- and full-day tours, good for smaller groups with six to 12 people.

Heidi Ouyang, assistant general manager of Formosan Naruwan Hotel & Resort Taitung, told TTG Asia that “Taitung has lots to offer” so much so that the usual duration of two to fours days taken by Hongkongers is not enough to experience the best of land and sea programmes.

Taitung tourism players also hope to inform Hong Kong travel trade partners that accommodation options have expanded and improved. There are now 1,502 keys under boutique guesthouses, while existing hotels have undergone varying degrees of renovation. The five-star 292-room Formosan Naruwan Hotel, for example, has just kicked off a phased refurbishment this month and targets to complete in mid to late 2024.

Chiang told TTG Asia that the Hong Kong market accounted for 60 per cent of Taitung’s international arrivals pre-pandemic, but direct flights are now lacking between the two points.

She hopes that discussions about potential charter flights can lead to services materialising by mid-2024.

Taitung authorities currently incentivise airlines to establish charter flights between Taitung and Hong Kong, with a subsidy of HK$69,500 (US$8,866) given per flight should passenger numbers exceed 50. Additional perks may be given for charter flights that serve more than 20 travellers who stay in legal hostels or hotels for two nights.

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