Booming Prospects for Taiwan's Tourist Factories

Taipei, July 13 (CNA) Taiwan has seen a boom in the development of tourist factories nationwide over the past few years, the Ministryof Economic Affairs said Friday, adding that it expects to see a growthin number and that there are good prospects for the sector. 

Since 2003, the ministry, in collaboration with the Industrial Technology Research Institute, has been promoting the approximately130 tourist factories, which offer a combination of tourism andold-economy industries, said Chen Chia-jui, deputy director of theministry's Central Region Office. 

However, he added, it was not until fairly recently that the ideabegan to really take off. 

In 2010, the factories attracted 5 million visits and generated NT$1.3 billion (US$43.35 million). The number of visits in 2011reached 6.5 million, with NT$1.63 billion-worth of business generated,according to ministry statistics. 

During the first half of 2012 alone, some 5.5 million visits were recorded, generating NT$1.3 billion, Chen noted, adding that his officeexpects the revenue to top NT$2 billion, with over 8 million visits,by the end of this year.

Chen attributed the dramatic growth to the fact that more and more businesses are becoming interested in joining the ranks of the tourist factories, saying that 20-30 additional application cases each year -- double or even triple the number allowed in the project. 

Chang Hui-der, the office's section chief, told CNA that tours of the factories have become a great vacation trip option for local citizens, as the factories "are simply inclusive of everything."

From pastries and desserts to clothes and cosmetics, the factories not only explain the manufacturing processes but also give visitors actual hands-on experience of making the products, he said. 

To increase visitor numbers and the market scale, the ministry is also planning to target foreign visitors by selecting "attractive and representative" factories, as well as offering guided tours in foreign languages. 

Describing the number of foreign visitors so far as "very small," Chang said the ministry hopes to see a gradual increase in their numbers over the next few years.

(Source: Focus Taiwan 13 July 2012)

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