Sports tourism in Taiwan

An interesting new article suggests that sports could provide Taiwan with a major tourist draw. What do you think?

Here’s an excerpt:

[quote]Although Taiwan’s sporting traditions are not strong, professional event organizers and sports journalists do not doubt that the island has the potential to become a leading destination for sports tourists.

Steve White, managing editor of Action Asia – a travel, adventure and lifestyle magazine based in Hong Kong – said of Taiwan: “My experiences have convinced me that it is a very underrated country in general and specifically has incredible adventure travel potential. The country has an incredible range of mountains. It can claim some of the wildest high country in Asia outside the Himalayas, as well as whitewater rivers that may be short, but still offer some nice challenges.”

Julian Jesson, who heads up operations in Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong for Destination Marketing Ltd., which has been contracted by the ROC Tourism Bureau to bolster the country’s water sports, said with regard to sailing that, “There can be no doubt that Taiwan holds all the cards as far as natural resources are concerned. Tourism and sailing go hand-in-hand, and many countries and islands have harnessed this recreational pastime to substantially increase tourism, in particular, the British Virgin Islands.” [/quote]

Here’s the first half of the two-part article.

Yes, especially with mountain climbing and windsurfing, as long as adequate infrastructure is in place to get people there. Taiwan is not the easiest place to get around, especially for first-time visitors.

Dog turd hurdling, taxi dodging and the binglang shisheh breast stroke are three of my favorite events. :smiley:

Actually, I shouldn’t be so cynical. I initially wanted to comment that they need to be honest and not call a 20km race a marathon as they do here: … WRoof.html

But then I discovered that the Taipei Marathon and the Taroko Marathon are both full-length marathons that draw many international competitors. … 11901.html … 203f2.html

So, maybe it is possible, though there needs to be greater prize money than that offered in the above events (US$2,900 for first prize in one and $1,450 for 1st in the other - ha ha ha.) The NY marathon pays $65K for first, LA pay 25K plus a honda accord, London pays 55K, HK pays 20K, Honolulu pays 15K, even Beirut pays 12K.

The link above goes to just the first half of the article on sports tourism.

Here’s the rest of the story.

Having visitors here again has just made me realise two things even more.

  1. Taiwan has really fantastic scenery, great places to go, good shopping and eating, and could be really good for tourism.

  2. Most places are really hard to get around if you don’t speak Chinese, don’t know about them, or even just don’t have your own transport.

Most of these observations are just around Taipei. I think further South, these two points are true, and even more so.


I read Crook’s article in that GIO (don’t say rag, don’t say rag, don’t say ra…dient) publication last week. Good job Stephan, and to Cranky for posting the topic.

The Dept. of Tourism is alreday promoting sports tourism and investing in the infrastructure. Witness the building of bike paths, currently city and county funded, and unfortunately, unlinked. That is one link, however,that will occur before the impolitic three, thus making it possible for one to eventually cycle around the island. Tour de Forumosa comes to mind…

There are more examples including infrasturcture growth from the adpotin of (tong yin pinyin is it?) as a romanization standard, individual efforts like Cranky’s campaign to standardize map and road sign spellings included, to MRT extensions, the high speed rail, and promotion of international sporting competitions around the island. In parallel, and not idly so as the two go together like cake annd ice cream, is the maturing of the local music scene. Hey, what better than an ultimate competition on the cliffs in Hualian, with some kickass reggae, rock and rythym…for your casual sports tourist to enjoy.

By the way, if anybody reading this would like to paly in the Chinese Slow Pitch Softball Association’s Sept. 27th - 29th International Tournament please drop me a PM. I endeavor to organize a team of character that would like to have some fun and promote “Taiwanese Sports Tourism” at the grass roots level. No pun intended.

T’be sure, its a hurculean effort to wipe away the grotesque cement sprawl and foul air, or to build an infrastructure to a new puspose(s). And yes, other’s in the area are far ahead, but Taiwanese, put to the task, put MIT on the economic map. Where’s your faith int he human spirt, man?

Funny mama theresa, very funny. You forgot to mention, more dance than sport, Aimless Walking - Unsynchronized Pairs. Anyway, You’ve got to keep the long term positive view on this to get and keep the momentum going. Sportsfans, Ho!



this looks like a good place to post this url:…. my friend’s neighbor runs it I think

thats a great site… wonderful photos and descriptions.

personally i am really happy taiwan doesnt have the infrastructure that ‘welcomes’ tourists… i like the place sleepy and difficult just like it is… :slight_smile:

Freshtreks is a great idea. It’ll translate into great word-of-mouth advertising for Taiwan. As for sports, Penghu already holds some watersports events and is a great place for it.

QUOTE: "personally I am really happy Taiwan doesnt have the infrastructure that ‘welcomes’ tourists… I like the place sleepy and difficult just like it is… "

This is so true, and a real conondrum! Taiwan is nice the way it is, for me, in my own selfish way. I like it just as it is. I don’t want it to become a mecca for rich Anglotourists to come and wreck with their tour buses etc. HOWEVER, it would be good for the economy.

For me, I vote: don’t upgrade, I like it like this. And you are right, Taiwan does have great scenery and things to do. If it’s get any more highspeed, forget it. It will lose its charm. Too many maps will fuck up this paradise. But let’s hear from local people, it’s their country. If they want busloads of FAT tourists, go for it. I will leave if that happens. Or retire to Penghu again.

Formosa, if direct links open up with China, there’s going to be 1.3 billion people (+/- 22 million) tramping around the island. Enjoy the beach at Penghu – you’ll be doing it standing up.

then make it like HK where you need a special visa for border crossings.

then make it like HK where you need a special visa for border crossings.[/quote]

And give up tourist revenues? I doubt that would happen.

If the question is "could sports tourism be a major tourist draw and or a way to boost the economy—don’t make me laugh. Let me mention at the outset I know Steve Crook and am glad he got paid for the article. And if I remember right (I scanned it briefly before tossing the Taiwan Journal into the bottom of the bird cage) he mere “suggest” it as a possibility.

Three reasons it won’t work:

  1. Sports (in the broader sense of sports and recreation) is not a major part of Taiwanese life. Taiwan ain’t California or Oz.

  2. The island is basically a trash heap. I really enjoyed seeing the women’s tampexs, the empty cans and the trash bags all over Yang Ming Shan the one time I made the mistake of going up there.

  3. Umm, I hate to say this, but Taiwanese are rude and obnoxious. (oh, and by the way before the “Foreigners Shouldn’t Criticize Our Dear Local Hosts” contigent starts in, let me set you straight, I have been told “Taiwanese are very rude” by lots of locals, it ain’t just “brian says”) What is the tagline going to be The Beautiful Smiles of Taiwan (stolen from the Visit Thailand campagin a few years ago). Ha, ha, that would be rich. Oh and one final point, most people in the big wide world, if they are going to this neighborhood, will just go straight to China. If you want to be treated rudely, see lots of trash and environmental destruction, China offers more and a greater variety of those things than Taiwan does.

So when you add up 1 plus 2 plus 3= not the plan to save Taiwan’s economy.

But, I want to close on a positive note. I should give some helpful advice if I am going to sit here and make snide comments. So here is my helpful advice. The Taiwan Tourist Bored should push a program called

Taiwan Bambi Hunts

This idea I got from a hoax story that ran a few weeks ago about a guy (I think in Texas or Arizona) who was going to set up a deal where guys pay a lot of money to “hunt” (with paintball guns) attractive and naked women in the woods.

Now, Taiwan seems to have a number of paintball “gun clubs” and Taiwan is never one to shy away from sleaze so…my idea makes perfect sense.

And, and, there are still a lot of rich Japanese guys who love guns and love naked girls and love vacations far from the prying eyes of their wives.

Now there is a plan that makes sense. I really should be a high level government official rather than a lowly hack writer and law teacher.

Dr. Brian
Director, San Chung Tourism Bored

How dare you criticize Taiwan! It’s environmental destruction is just as good as China’s!

You seem more like middle managment material to me, Kennedy. But you have the name, you have the name.

Interesting article. I’ve met Julian and know that he’s on a personal mission to turn Penghu into the centre of the windsurfing/small boat sailing universe.

Interesting that there’s all that talk of sailing. I’m aware of a grand total of six yachts operating in Taiwan, one of which is registered overseas. What’s the point building more marinas if there’s no one to use them?

Fixing the legislation would be a good first step. We’ve just been refused insurance, by Lloyds, because they’re not licensed to insure TW registered vessels. This wannabe-a-country is not going to be recognised as part of the real world until they start behaving like part of the real world.

Without insurance we can’t participate in the Yonaguni-Hualian race next year. That means that the TW flag will not be flying in the race to get here. Tell me that’s not stupid.

Go to the Freshtreks website. Jean Marc organises diving, mountain climbing, white water rafting , para gliding, canoeing, dolphin watching and so on.

I’m going up Yu Shan on one of his tours in a couple of week and will report back here.


Also, here are some sporting ideas from the Tourism Bureau: … ss=11%2B14