Tainan affords an abundance of cultural and natural tourism resources. In recent years, Tainan has transitioned into Taiwan’s foremost tourism destination under the Tainan City Government’s “You haven’t been to Taiwan until you’ve been to Tainan!” promotional campaign and the collective efforts of the public and private sectors. Tainan is now a popular destination for domestic and international travelers alike, truly becoming an international tourism brand.
Besides continuing to promote Tainan’s tourism brand in target direct-flight markets such as Hong Kong and Japan, as part of the New Southbound Policy, the Tourism Bureau of the Tainan City Government organized a series of promotional events in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur for the first time in August 2017 to establish prominence in the Chinese markets of Southeast Asia. In additions to a luncheon with local tourism and travel vendors and a book fair centered on Tainan’s tourism, the Bureau led 11 Taiwanese travel agencies in participating in Singapore’s oldest and largest tourism exposition, 2017 NATAS Holidays, as well as launched a trolley advertisement campaign in the world busiest airport, Changi International Airport. The efforts are sure to leave an impression on international travelers.
A key agenda of the Bureau in Singapore and Malaysia was to lead several Taiwanese travel agencies in participating in the 2017 NATAS Holidays, which is Singapore’s oldest and largest tourism exposition. This year, the event attracted over 100,000 visitors. Tainan’s independent pavilion was decorated with lanterns and aerial footage of Taiwan’s vast plains to create an attractive green leisure space for Singaporean travelers. A series of promotional events were organized, wherein Tainan’s popular Sheriff Tea Egg and TCKW Pineapple Cakes were presented as gifts, attracting crowds of visitors to the stall. The Tainan Pavilion featured Tayih Landis Tainan, Far Eastern Plaza Shangri La, Silks Place Tainan, The Place Tainan, Fushun Hotel Tainan, Golden Tulip Glory Fine Hotel Tainan, and Oshana Holidays. Other vendors included Diking Leisure Farm, Jianshanpi Jiangnan Resort, Tsou-Ma-Lai Farm, and Jia-Jia-at West Market Hotel, which were set up in the Taiwan Pavilion to promote Tainan. A partnership was established during the event with Daitsu Travel Co., which pledged to organize a thematic tour of 100 tourists to Tainan at the end of the year. This was one of many major deals secured during the event.
In addition to Singapore, the Tourism Bureau of the Tainan City Government, along with several of Tainan’s hotel vendors and travel agencies, met with the Director and Media Representative of the Malaysia Chinese Tourism Association in Kuala Lumpur in advance. The event invited the Director of the Tourism Bureau of the Tainan City Government, Ms. Shih-Szu Wang, to provide a briefing on Tainan’s tourism resources and several vendors to introduce themselves. The Malaysia Chinese Tourism Association was invited to organize tours to Tainan and itineraries were discussed.
The Director of the Tourism Bureau of the Tainan City Government also collaborated with Cité Book Garden in launching a month-long Tainan tourism book fair in Cité’s physical and online stores. Cité Book Garden is located in Seri Petaling, a location densely populated with Chinese people in Kuala Lumpur. The bookstore is not only the major Chinese bookstore in the city but also the largest online Chinese bookstore in Malaysia. The book fair aimed to leave a positive impression of Tainan through Chinese reading.
At the same time as the book fair, the Tourism Bureau of the Tainan City Government also launched a trolley advertisement campaign in Changi International Airport. The campaign period is between 9 August and 31 October, focusing on classic western-style architecture and leisurely surrounding of Chimei Museum. The campaign calls on families in Singapore to consider Tainan for a leisurely and stress-free family outing.
Director Wang asserted that both Kuala Lumpur and Singapore has a large Chinese presence, with languages and cultures similar to those in Taiwan. Therefore, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore are key markets for the expansion of Tainan’s tourism. Singaporean and Malaysian tourists are no strangers to Taiwan, particularly Taipei. Therefore, the Tainan City Government targets return visitors, planning and marketing strategies based on market preferences to incite these visitors to visit and stay in Tainan for at least one evening. The promotional event not only focused on direct exchanges with Singaporean and Malaysian travel agencies to create opportunities for collaboration but also direct exchanges with travelers to elucidate their needs, which serve as a basis for formulating strategies to promote self-guided travel. Singaporean travelers are highly independent and particularly interested in self-planned transportation and itineraries. By participating in NATAS Holidays and examining the market, the Tainan City Government will subsequently focus on self-guided travel and provide more hotel and bed-and-breakfast options, thereby enhancing the popularity of Tainan City.