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Tainan-Sendai Charter Flight to Launch on April 1; Mayor Wei-Che Huang Led Delegation to Japan and Promoted International Tourism in Tainan

Posted Date:2023-04-01

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The Tainan City Government has been continuously promoting direct international flights from Tainan. Through the joint efforts among the Tainan City Government, Sendai City Government, and tourism industry representatives from both cities, the Tainan-Sendai route officially launched on April 1, 2023! This route was operated by Tigerair Taiwan, flying the A320 aircraft with a capacity of 179 passengers. Mayor Wei-Che Huang also took the inaugural flight and led a delegation of 32 people, including members from the Tourism Bureau, the Tainan City Government, and the Tainan Culture and Tourism Industries Association, to promote the Tainan tourism market in the Tohoku region of Japan. Led by Deputy Mayor Akira Fujimoto, representatives of Sendai City and Miyagi Prefecture, including official personnel, the mascot Musubi-Maru and the City of Trees goodwill ambassador, welcomed the Tainan delegation at Sendai International Airport. Mayor Wei-Che Huang visited the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster sites, and later met with Mayor Kazuko Kori of Sendai City, who strongly supported the tourism cooperation between the two cities. In the evening, Sendai City hosted a dinner party and invited Governor Yoshihiro Murai of Miyagi Prefecture, Mayor Takahiro Sato of Yamagata City, Council Speaker Tsuguhiko Akama of Sendai City, and distinguished guests, including an honorary citizen of Tainan City, Councilor Keiwen Nishizawa and Japanese tourism industry representatives, to warmly welcome the Tainan delegation. The mayors and governor interacted warmly with Mayor Wei-Che Huang, and industry representatives actively exchanged opinions. All parties looked forward to working collaboratively to seize the huge business opportunities of post-pandemic border opening. They hoped that regular flights would be introduced between the two cities, making it more convenient for Japanese tourists to travel to Tainan.

Mayor Wei-Che Huang stated that before the national borders are opened, Tainan will continue to promote and market to international tourists while also doing a good job in epidemic prevention. After the borders are opened, the city government team will be ready to welcome international tourists to Tainan. Prior to this charter flight, the successful restoration of the VietJet Air Ho Chi Minh City route was achieved before the Lunar New Year. Mayor Wei-Che Huang expressed his gratitude to Tigerair Taiwan for their strong support and to the Tainan Association of Travel Agents for their efforts in making this historic first charter flight between Tainan and Sendai a reality. At the same time, Mayor Wei-Che Huang expressed his appreciation to the cities Sendai City and Yamagata City and Miyagi Prefecture, where Sendai International Airport is located, for their great support in promoting the charter flight. We were delighted to have had the opportunity to communicate face-to-face with Governor Yoshihiro Murai of Miyagi Prefecture, Mayor Kazuko Kori of Sendai City, Mayor Takahiro Sato of Yamagata City, and Councilor Keiwen Nishizawa of Sendai City Council, who have visited Tainan multiple times, at the welcome banquet for Tainan City. We also took this opportunity to promote Tainan’s 400th Anniversary and Taiwan Lantern Festival, which will be held in Tainan in 2024, and invited all the distinguished guests at the banquet and our friends from various prefectures and cities in Japan to visit Tainan next year to experience the charm of this ancient city. Sendai, the largest city in Japan's Tohoku region, has a close and long-standing relationship with Tainan, and is a sister of Tainan. We hoped that through this group visit, both the government departments and the tourism industry will be able to establish a bridge of friendship and communication, promoting the flourishing development of the tourism market in both places, driving Japanese tourists to travel to Tainan, and further hoping that this charter flight route will be developed into a regular flight.

This charter flight was in cooperation with Tigerair Taiwan and was scheduled to depart on April 1 and return on April 5. The flight from Tainan City to Sendai, Japan, was from 7:45 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. on April 1, and the return flight from Sendai to Tainan City was from 2:20 p.m. to 5:20 p.m. on April 5. The flight number of Tigerair's IT-8150 was A320, and the number of seats could reach 179. All seats on the inaugural flight were fully booked.

Kuo-Hua Lin, the acting director of the Tourism Bureau, Tainan City Government, stated that the Tourism Bureau seized the opportunity to directly face Japanese operators during this visit and prepared Tainan tourism promotional materials for the welcome banquet, including Tainan-Sendai charter flight luggage ties, Madou Farmers’ Association's dried plum pomelo slices (Tainan agricultural specialty), Tainan’s 400th Anniversary amulets, and Tainan tourism maps both in Chinese and Japanese, to be distributed to all attending Japanese operators. We hope that Japanese tourism operators will actively plan Tainan tourism itineraries and we encourage more Japanese tourists to choose Tainan as their travel destination. In the meaningful year of Tainan’s 400th Anniversary in 2024, we aim to significantly increase the number of international tourists to Tainan. Of course, we also hope that more Japanese tourists in the Tohoku region will take advantage of the Tainan-Sendai charter flight opportunity. Tainan and Sendai share many similarities, and we believe that tourists from Sendai and the Tohoku regions who take the charter flight to visit Tainan will have a great time. Tainan is a tourist city rich in historical and cultural elements and food. In recent years, Tainan has also developed and renovated new tourist attractions, such as the Tainan Art Museum Building 2, and the Tainan County Magistrate Residence, as well as natural landscapes such as the Jingzijiao Wapan Salt Fields, Qigu Lagoon, Guanziling Mud Hot Spring, and traditional alleys such as the Shennong Street and traditional snacks such as Du Hsiao Yueh Restaurant, which are all favorites of Japanese tourists. The direct chartered flight from Tainan to Sendai can save approximately 2-3 hours of travel time. We hope that this will lead to regular flights in the future, allowing more Japanese tourists to fly directly to Tainan and stay for a few more days to fully experience the charm of Tainan.

The Tourism Bureau, Tainan City Government further stated that this delegation was led by Mayor Huang Wei-che, Kuo-Hua, Lin, the acting director of the Tourism Bureau, Chien-Yu, Li, the director of the Tainan City Government Agriculture Bureau, Cheng-Hung Tsai, chairman of the Tinan Association of Travel Agent (the five major public associations of the tourism industry), Chun-Tai Wu, chairman of the Tainan Chamber of Commerce, Kai-Wen Ke, chairman of the Tainan Tourism and Homestay Affairs Union, Chin-Sheng Liang, chairman of the Tainan Tourism Factory Development Association, and Li-Feng Chou, chairman of the Tainan Catering and Hospitality Education Association, and leading tourism industry representatives to take the first charter flight from Tainan to Sendai to promote tourism for Tainan in this trip. Official representatives from Sendai City and Miyagi Prefecture, led by Deputy Mayor Akira Fujimoto, welcomed the delegation at Sendai International Airport. As this was Mayor Wei-Che Huang's first visit to Sendai, the Sendai City Government specially arranged for him to visit the 311 earthquake heritage sites in Sendai, including the Arahama Elementary School and Arahama JR Fruit Park. The Arahama Elementary School, established in 1873, has a hundred-year history and had 91 students at the time of the 311 earthquake. After the 311 J-ALERT was broadcasted, all 320 students, staff, and surrounding refugees were spared under the leadership of the principal. The building is now preserved as a memorial to the disaster. The Sendai Arahama JR Fruit Park is also located in the disaster-stricken area of the 311 earthquake, and is a tourist farm with the aim of earthquake recovery, regional cooperation, and agricultural revitalization. It is also the largest experiential tourist fruit tree farm in Japan. So, it was particularly meaningful for Mayor Wei-Che Huang to visit these two locations.

After visiting the disaster sites, Mayor Wei-Che Huang paid a visit to the Sendai City Government. That day, Mayor Kazuko Kori, Deputy Mayor Akira Fujimoto, Director Masami Kaneko of the Bureau of Cultural Affairs and Tourism, and Councilor Keiwen Nishizawa welcomed the delegation. Mayor Wei-Che Huang thanked the Sendai City Government for its many contributions to the Tainan-Sendai charter flight and today's warm welcome. He also specifically mentioned that his visit to Arahama Elementary School and Arahama Fruit Park left a deep impression on him, and the grafting technology and strawberry picking techniques used in the Fruit Park's transformation from salinized land to a tourist fruit farm are worth learning from for Tainan's Shanhua and Xinying agricultural areas. Similarly, Tainan has delicious seasonal fruits all year round. The pineapple and mango season is coming soon. Welcome everyone to come and taste them in Tainan. The 2023 National Games, Taiwan Lantern Festival, and 2024 Tainan’s 400th Anniversary are all major events in Tainan. We look forward to the participation of our sister cities, and hope that we can progress together through exchange visits and learning from each other in various fields such as agriculture. Additionally, since March 31 is the birthday of Mayor Kazuko Kori, Mayor Wei-Che Huang especially wished her a happy birthday. The Sendai City Government prepared a business card holder and clip made from traditional Sendai silk, called "Sendaihira," to present to Mayor Wei-Che Huang. Mayor Wei-Che Huang also presented an Acera liven porcelain mug with a print of the butterfly orchid, or Tainan's special product, on the mug. At the evening banquet hosted by the Sendai City Government that night, Governor Yoshinori Murai of Miyagi Prefecture and Mayor Takahiro Sato of Yamagata City made a special trip to Sendai to participate in the event. A famous Sendai dance called "Suzume-odori" was arranged for the Tainan delegation to watch. Mayor Wei-Che Huang gave a speech at the event, thanking the mayors and the governor and presenting a delicate porcelain plate from the Tai-Hwa Pottery and a butterfly orchid, or Tainan’s agricultural specialty, with the word "Tainan" and the emblem of Sendai City printed on it using nanotechnology. He also extended an invitation, warmly inviting the two mayors, the governor, and all distinguished guests present to come to Tainan to watch the Taiwan Lantern Festival in 2024.

The Tourism Bureau, Tainan City Government, stated that tourism in Tainan is not limited to domestic visitors and people from all over the country are welcomed. You can visit Tainan without flying; Mitsui Outlet Park, or the latest Japanese shopping center, is accessible right after you get off a Taiwan High Speed Rail train. Upcoming major events in Tainan include the Yuguang Island Art Festival (3/24-4/16), the Xuejia Hollyhock Flower Cultural Festival at the Guanghua Neighborhood Activity Center in Xuejia District (2/25-4/23), and the Happy City Romantic Getaways Photography event (3/9-5/14), among others! For more activities, please follow the "Travel Tainan Website" and "Travel Tainan Facebook Fan Page."
 

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