The 2021 Taipei International Travel Fair opened Friday with dozens of foreign embassies and representative offices hoping to catch the eye of visitors with their countries’ exhibits.
The annual show, being held until Monday at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, is one of Taiwan’s most popular travel shows and has exhibitors from over 40 countries, including more than 30 foreign ambassadors and representatives.
Taiwan’s Caribbean allies and the Philippines were among those that had their diplomats on hand to help pitch travel ideas to Taiwanese vacationers and lure them to their countries.
The booth of St. Kitts and Nevis welcomed Taiwanese guests with prize-winning games and cultural activities.
“Our goal and our aim are to expose the Taiwanese public to this new and alternative destination,” St. Kitts and Nevis Ambassador Jasmine Elise Huggins told CNA.
“[We hope] to convince them through the activities that we have here at the booth and through educational campaigns with our brochures and by speaking to them, they will be inspired to go to St. Kitts and Nevis,” Huggins said.
One of the country’s tourism highlights that may be of interest to local travelers is the “St. Kitts and Nevis National Carnival,” which falls between Christmas and New Year, Huggins said.
“It runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 2 and this is where you have activities like pageants, indigenous music competitions, and dancing on the streets from dawn until the sun comes up,” Huggins said. “It is a very joyful time, very relaxed, very happy.”
Another Caribbean ally with major celebrations is Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, which is promoting the “Vincy Mas,” a 10-day carnival celebration held between June and July.
“This is the hottest carnival in the Caribbean,” Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador Andrea Bowman said. “Taiwanese would love that, and what is represented is festivity, a lot of spectacles, competition, dancing, eating, just having a wonderful time.”
Also welcoming Taiwanese visitors is Saint Lucia Ambassador Edwin Laurent, who hopes by later next year to work with travel agents to set up packages to visit his country.
“They will see our beautiful mountains and the romantic scenes of family as we are very family friendly,” Laurent said. “Also, we’ve got the hot springs where one could treat the skin with special volcanic mud.”
Hazel Habito Javier, director of the Philippines Department of Tourism in Taiwan, was at the show to remind Taiwanese of the beauty of her country and to welcome potential tourists when the Philippines reopens for tourism.
When asked when the restrictions will be lifted, Javier replied hopefully early next year as more and more people become vaccinated in the Philippines.
“Actually, Taiwan is our No. 5 source market, so that’s why this market is very important to us,” Javier said.
A total of 331,792 Taiwanese visited the Philippines in 2019, according to Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau data.
Organized by the Taiwan Visitors Association, the show is one of the biggest tourism-related trade events in the region and attracted 384,834 visitors in 2019 before dropping to 76,876 visitors during the first two days of the show last year because of COVID-19.