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Sports tourism in the spotlight as travel fair ends

The event for university athletes could be a boon for the local tourism industry — among city government-proposed plans are in-depth travel packages involving tourism agencies hosting competitors and their family members, said Taipei ITF Chairman Su Cherng-tyan.

Su’s comments echoed those of Universiade Organizing Committee spokesman Rony Yang, who said the packages would range from basic tours to VIP experiences.

The ongoing Taiwan Cycling Festival, which comprises a series of events and challenges through some of the island’s most scenic — and most challenging — terrain remained the country’s sports tourism poster child, Su said.

“Taiwan is a suitable place for cycling and more should be done to develop this potential for cycling tourism to attract more international guests,” he said.

Of the approximately 2,600 domestic tourism agencies, only a few have leveraged cycling in their tourism marketing, according to Su.

He gave the audience something to mull over when he summarized Japan Sport Tourism Alliance Chairman Munehiko Harada’s earlier presentation, saying that “developing tourism does not require historic temples or extravagant oceans or mountains.”

Stressing the substantial business potential of sports tourism, Andy Huang, general manager of Lion Travel, said the sector had generated NT$118.8 billion in profits in 2015 alone, citing figures from the Ministry of Education.

Universiade Tourism Marketing

Yang said the Universiade’s organizing committee expected at least 5,000 people to visit Taiwan for the event, among them athletes, their family and VIP delegation member,.

Accommodation revenue of NT$3,000 per person was expected throughout the 12-day event, translating into approximately NT$180 million in profits, Yang said, adding that the number did not include revenue from tourism, transportation or dining.

In crafting its approach to Universiade-related tourism, the Taipei City Government has looked to the experiences of foreign cities and countries in hosting international sports events.

A city familiarization tour will be hosted for VIP and athlete delegations, though the city government has notably zeroed in on backpackers coming to Taiwan during the event.