Taiwan might be 6,069 miles away, but the UK travel trade can expect a closer relationship with the East Asian state than ever before.
In December the Taiwan Tourism Bureau opened its first London headquarters – the second European centre after Frankfurt – to bolster UK visitor numbers.
“The UK is the largest outbound market in Europe to Taiwan. We hope that the opening of the office in London will help travel agencies and tour operators work closely with Taiwan to develop a tailor-made programme for UK visitors,” said Joe Y. Chou, director-general of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau.
By the close of 2019, Taiwan had welcomed more than 70,000 UK arrivals – an 8% year-on-year growth from January to October.
“It’s looking likely the destination will reach new heights in 2020.”
Now, with a new strategy promoting adventure options, Taiwan is hopeful of reaching 100,000.
“Under the Taiwan Tourism 2020 Plan, the tourism bureau has initiated a theme-based promotion. [Themes] include eco-tourism, bay tourism, small-town roaming and mountain tourism,” explained Chou.
Dubbed the Year of the Mountain, in 2020 Taiwan will celebrate its 268 mountains and trips that visit them.
From climbing Yushan’s highest peak, which rises 3,952 metres above sea level, to crossing a glass-bottomed bridge at the Xiao Wulai waterfall, there are plenty of outdoor options to appeal to a range of fitness levels.
Of course, Taiwan isn’t without its metropolitan hubs. The capital Taipei offers cultural sites such as the National Palace Museum – home to the world’s largest collection of Chinese art – and the Water Moon Tea House, where clients can partake in tastings and attend “tea classes” to learn about the beverage’s history.
The tourism bureau will continue its work with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (Pata) to host UK-wide training events in March, as well as organise regular supplier education sessions, with a hiking fam planned for spring.
Given the UK’s centuries-long fascination with the East, and the Taiwan Tourism Bureau’s new London hub, it’s looking likely the destination will reach new heights in 2020.
Flights: Cathay Pacific operates flights from Heathrow to Taipei, with a Hong Kong stopover, while China Airlines offers direct access from Gatwick to the Taiwanese capital. Flight time is 14h 30mins.
Climate: The average annual temperature sits at 22°C, reaching 30°C in summer and 13°C in winter.
Currency: The New Taiwan dollar.
Visa: UK visitors can spend up to 90 days in Taiwan without a visa.