Tainan woos Singapore tourists

Dadong night market in Tainan, Taiwan.
Dadong night market in Tainan, Taiwan. PHOTO: TABLA

Singaporeans may be more familiar with the bustling night markets of Taiwan's capital city Taipei and the natural wonders of the eastern coast city of Hualien than good old-fashioned Tainan.

But the south-western city of 1.9 million people is turning up the charm to attract more visitors from Singapore.

Tainan, Taiwan's oldest city and former capital during the Qing Dynasty, hopes to emphasise its credentials as Taiwan's "cultural capital".

The city's tourism authorities will head to Singapore's Travel Revolution fair for the first time this August to promote temples and historical monuments, which show how the city has evolved since its days as a trading base during Dutch rule in the 1600s. It is promoting its heritage streets, which have a bohemian vibe, with hipster cafes and art galleries.


The bureau is also tying up with budget airline Scoot, which flies three times a week to Kaohsiung, just 30 minutes away from Tainan by train, to promote Tainan by organising visits for social influencers from Singapore.

There were 474,000 tourist arrivals from Singapore to Taiwan last year, a rise of 3.6 per cent from 2015. But only about 10,500 Singapore visitors spent a night in Tainan hotels, though this does not capture day visitors or those who stay in homestay inns.

Tainan's tourism bureau director-general Sue Wang said: "People often think Taipei when they talk about Taiwan but there is a lot more that Tainan can offer, especially if visitors want a change of pace from all the shopping and partying in the city."

Jermyn Chow

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 16, 2017, with the headline 'Tainan woos Singapore tourists'. Print Edition | Subscribe