Foreign nationals urge more accessibility to nature trails in Taiwan
Taipei, March 28 (CNA) A group of foreign nationals, including foreign representatives, visited a nature trail in the Taipingshan Highlands on Saturday, urging greater international exchanges and accessibility for non-Mandarin speaking foreign travelers.
The team – which included Rene Beerepoot, deputy representative at the Dutch Taipei Office and Rupert Cao, deputy director of Commerce and Investment at the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei – said they were impressed by Taiwan’s diverse wildlife and natural landscapes.
Representatives, along with foreign travel bloggers and journalists, were introduced to the ancient cypress trail in the mountains of northeastern Taiwan.
“I think you have a really impressive landscape,” said Beerepoot, who along with his family took part in a trip organized by the Taiwan Bureau of Forestry (FB) as part of a government effort to promote ecotourism at COVID-19.
Kao, a travel lover who has traveled to the island with his family in recent years, agreed, adding that he is surprised by Taiwan, which has a “small but wide range” of natural scenery.
“Initially before I came here, I thought, oh, it would be a tropical island. However, geographically it is very different. I was very surprised,” he said.
Kao said he was in favor of the idea of creating “twinning” between trails in Taiwan and Canada, and perhaps in other countries.
FB Deputy General Manager Lin Hao-chen (林 澔 貞) said the office has selected three of the approximately 130 trails it operates – the Cypress Trail in Taipingshan, the historic Tefuye Trail in Alishan and the old Nenggao Cross-Ridge Trail (the last two are located in central Taiwan) – for market promotion and testing.
“These trails are all very unique in their own way and represent different types of challenges, which we believe will satisfy the interests of different hikers,” Lin said, adding that there will be similar trips this Saturday in the future.
As border controls remain tight in Taiwan, Lin said, he hopes these campaigns will first attract expatriates whose personal experiences could potentially create further demand from their countries of origin.
Some of the other trails worth promoting in Taiwan are eco-craft trails – made with on-site materials and maintained with methods that minimize impact on nature, he noted.
The Taiwan Thousand Miles Trail Association (TMI Trail), which shared its knowledge of local ecological trails with dealers, said it would work with the agency and reach out to other countries to jointly introduce such trails.
This could lead to joint marketing of the trails by the participating parties – via physical bulletin boards along the trails or virtual site entries – according to the club’s executive director Chou Sheng-hsin (. 聖.).
However, some foreigners said they would like to see more detailed and comprehensive travel information available to non-Mandarin speaking travelers.
Ami Barnes, a nature lover and travel blogger from the UK who has lived in Taiwan for five years, said that while everyone she met working for the promotion of Taiwan is extremely passionate, the overall result of their work is undermined by small mistakes such as many place names spellings.
“There are so many great ideas, but sometimes we forget the small details,” he said, adding that as non-native Mandarin speakers, foreigners would like to see more help, for example in public transport information.
“Some areas like Yangmingshan and Alishan are well served by transport services and there is clear information on how to get there, but others are much harder to get to,” he said.
Cao said he would like to see more “one-stop shop” services from the Taiwanese tourism authority, so they sometimes do not end up with the main portals redirecting them to more pages that may sometimes contain inconsistent information.
(By Lee Hsin-Yin)
Enditem / AW