2021, YEAR OF BICYCLE TOURISM IN TAIWAN
Following on the “2020 Ridge Mountain Tourism Year,” which helped generate a national mountaineering trend, Taiwan Tourism Bureau is now promoting the “2021 Bicycle Tourism Year”. Conceived for domestic tourists, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the product is likely to turn in into an attractive holiday theme for overseas travellers.
With over 70% of the island covered in mountains, Taiwan is home to an amazing network of cycleways, purpose-built by the government to provide safe, car-free routes.
The island has one of the most extensive networks of cycling lanes of any country in Asia. It is already a true haven for cyclists. The bike network extends over 5,000 kilometres, with trails along the coastal roads, metropolitan cities and the mountains, that take visitors to the heart of the countryside and through mountainous routes. With a relatively small territory, it is then easy for visitors to explore Taiwan by bike in a single trip. Another factor in favour of bike riding is its low impact on the environment.
The launching of the 2021 Bicycle Tourism Year highlights Taiwan’s assets as a cycling destination. It will first target domestic travellers but will no doubt go on to become an attractive theme for foreign tourists, once restrictions are lifted for overseas travel.
For the visitors wishing to explore Taiwan’s mountains and national parks, some spectacular circuits have been created. There is a dedicated cycling path in each of the island’s nine National Parks. Different degrees of difficulty provide an opportunity for amateurs, families and experienced cyclists alike.
For a gentle experience, travellers can cycle along the Zhuilu Old Road (Taroko) & Hehuan Mountain route. This goes through one of Taiwan’s most iconic tourism areas, the Taroko National Park and its famous Taroko Gorge.
A certification for “bike-friendly” hotels
More experienced cyclists can venture on the Nenggao Cross-Ridge Historical Trail, which runs east-west over the main ridge of the Central Mountain Range, between the Cilai and Nenggao mountains. For more challenging rides, the Jade Mountain & Alishan route, Jiaming Lake & Taitung Chishang route or Syue Mountain & Wuling route are perfect. They also offer spectacular panoramas.
How will the “2021 Bicycle Tourism Year” concretely translate? The chosen thematic builds upon efforts to upgrade bicycle lanes around the island, and integrates software, hardware and tourism products in a combined effort to promote bicycle tourism.
The theme has translated into the promotion of 16 bicycle routes as well as numerous demonstration tours. Another highlmight of the Cycling Tourism Year for the trade is the certification of hotels around the island to be bike-friendly.
According to Taiwan Tourism Bureau– the island’s official tourism authority- more than 1,000 hotels are expected to be certified as cyclist-friendly accommodation by the end of this year. “We are promoting the concept of ‘cyclist-friendly accommodation’ to 3,000 hotels along 16 main biking routes. Hoteliers can apply for certification if they have parking spaces for bicycles, as well as cleaning and maintenance facilities”, a spokesperson for the bureau said. By the end of April, 700 hotels already received the certification.
To be bicycle-friendly means that the hotel will include a maintenance facility or dedicated parking spaces. It will also propose bicycle itineraries and in some luxury properties, a butler will also take care of the bike and eventually fix it every night.