According to the statistics released on Tawianstay.net, the number of Singaporeans and Malaysians staying in Kaohsiung during the first half of 2019 increased by 23.25% as compared to the same period in 2018 (62,695) and the number of visitor arrivals reached 77,270. In order to attract more Muslim tourists to visit Kaohsiung, the Tourism Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government is organizing the “2020 Visit Tour for Muslim Tour Operators”. The event aims to invite Muslim tour operators to visit various popular destinations in Kaohsiung, including Xizi Bay, Liuhe Night Market, Qijin and E-DA Theme Park, tasting the halal-certified delicacies in Kaohsiung and staying at Muslim friendly hotels.
Jun-Long Qiu, the director of the Tourism Bureau, said that not only does Kaohsiung have beautiful natural scenery with mountains, picturesque wide harbor, local delicacies, large shopping malls, and a convenient and comprehensive integrated transport network consisting of MRT and LRT. Kaohsiung has always been a must-visit city for foreign guests. Based on the 2019 Mastercard Global Muslim Travel Index, Taiwan has moved up to the top three countries for the first time. In order to facilitate cultural exchanges with Muslims by way of tourism, we tried to learn and understand Muslim cultures and traditions and dedicated ourselves to creating a Muslim-friendly environment. We hope to provide more convenient and friendly ways of travel for Muslims and make more Muslims feel at home in Kaohsiung.
Director Qiu added that currently there are 12 Halal certified hotels and 8 Muslim-friendly restaurants in Kaohsiung. All these are quality Muslim-friendly hotels and restaurants. In addition, there are 4 halal restaurants that provide varied and unique cuisines: “Lili Chen Indonesian Food”, “Jawawa Indonesian Restaurant”, “Pamukkale Kaohsiung” and “Kao’s Muslim Restaurant”. To offer great visitor experience at reception, we have organized new immigrant guide training courses, and have received nearly 50 applications from the second generation of immigrants and new immigrants from countries of Southeast Asia, like Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and Cambodia. As for tourism infrastructure, not only have we built a Muslim prayer room in Kaohsiung International Airport, but bidet sprays were also installed in public toilets located at key attractions such as Xizi Bay, Lotus Pond, Chengcing Lake (Chengqing Lake), Qijin, Jinshi Lake and Shou shan Zoo.
The itinerary of visit tour for Muslim tour operators includes many iconic and popular attractions in Kaohsiung, such as Xizi Bay, Liuhe Night Market, Qijin and E-DA Theme Park. With guidance on halal food preparation given by the Fortune Institute of Technology and the International Muslim Tourism Industry Development Association (IMTIDA), 10 food stalls in Liuhe Night Market have been awarded the first halal-certified production batch. These stalls do not use pork, lard or alcohol in food production, allowing Muslim customers to eat with no inclination to risk sinning unwittingly.
To make Kaohsiung one of the Muslim-friendly cities and promote tourism in Kaohsiung, we hope to provide Muslim travelers with more opportunities to know Kaohsiung so that they will choose Kaohsiung as a travel destination after the visit tour.