Taiwan steps up efforts to attract Muslim tourists

Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Malaysia launched season 2 of its ‘Salam Taiwan’ programme as it targets to welcome more Muslim tourists from Malaysia and Brunei to explore Taiwan in-depth in 2020, a press release stated.

Salam Taiwan Ambassador Mira Filzah travelled to Taiwan to explore its hidden gems and documented her experience through Salam Taiwan’s new TVC. She brings the audience a different side of Taiwan worthy to be included in any trip itinerary.

One of the places that Mira visited was the Alishan Forest Railway in Chiayi County where she enjoyed a scenic train ride with an amazing view of bamboo forests and calming breeze. Built in 1899, the railway passes through different climates and terrain, making it an ideal way to enjoy the natural beauty of Taiwan. There are many activities tourists can enjoy in Alishan such as mountain climbing, sunrise viewing, sipping Taiwanese tea, or have a peaceful encounter with nature. For tourists coming in from Taipei, the travel from Taipei Main Station via High Speed Rail (HSR) to Chiayi will take about one hour and forty minutes.

Another attraction highlighted was the Yongle Fabric Market in Datong District, which is the largest market of its kind in Taiwan. The market dazzles with its beautiful and colourful offerings, including accessories, laces and embroidery items. It is a great place to shop for souvenirs or, unique fabric for your wedding entourage (rombongan pengantin).

Rainbow Village in Taichung has an inspiring story behind the colourful murals on houses and streets. It began when Hwang, affectionately known as Grandpa, started painting his house with images of comic characters and animals as a protest to save this village from being abolished. Soon after, the neighbours asked him to paint their houses as well.

Today, Rainbow Village is a tourist destination accessible via public transportation from Taipei. Grandpa’s artwork can be bought as souvenirs.

Taiwan is well-known for desserts such as bubble tea, lemon jelly drink (ai-yu-ping) and mango shaved ice. There are more scrumptious dishes to explore than these three ice desserts. One of them is the traditional crepe peanut dessert with ice cream.

For visitors who crave bread, the Horns Bread is a must-try. As the name implies, it is shaped like a horn. It looks similar to a croissant but has the texture of soft, fluffy bread. It can be eaten plain or filled with savoury or sweet filling.

Taiwan Tourism Bureau Kuala Lumpur Office Director Abe Chou said, “Taiwan has many hidden places sometimes not featured in the busy tourist maps. Many of these natural wonders and markets make great destinations for travellers, from families to group of friends or even couples. For this reason, we extend the Salam Taiwan programme for another year to showcase Taiwan in-depth and bring different perspectives to both Malaysians and Bruneians for a more enjoyable holiday experience.”

In 2019, Taiwan welcomed over 460,000 visitors from Malaysia of which about 15 per cent were Muslim tourists. In 2020, Taiwan aims to increase this arrival by 17 per cent.