To build Tainan as an international city, the Office of English as the Second Official Language (OEASOL) of Tainan City Government rolls out “English-friendly Emblems Program” to promote bilingual services of stores, temples, night markets, and even taxi drivers. Apart from the urban area, now the scope is further extended to rural Tainan, inviting enthusiastic locals to design 4 English-friendly countryside travel routes connecting various tourists’ attractions to offer foreign tourists alternative access to experiencing Tainan’s rural culture in depth.
OEASOL says that Tainan has quite a few rural communities that are rich in profound cultural heritage but rarely mentioned by travel guidebooks. These secret attractions are of particular interest to foreigners. However, due to the lack of related information available in English, it is difficult for foreign tourists to learn about these attractions. In view of this, OEASOL joined hands with Crystal Jade Farmer’s Co-op on the English audio guide project that will offer sight-seeing and travel information targeted at backpackers. The audio guide service is expected to serve as a useful tool for those interested in Taiwanese culture to take an in-depth tour of Tainan’s six rural districts and bring new life into the countryside.
Ms. Kuei-Miao Liu, manager of the Crystal Jade Farmer’s Co-op, said that she appreciates the opportunity to collaborate with OEASOL to promote the beauty of her homeland. With the vision of enabling foreign backpackers to travel around northern Tainan simply by public transportation, she will gather like-minded local residents to collect and compile such useful information as bus routes, bicycle renting, accommodation, and introductions of tourist sites to meet the real needs of backpackers.
Liu adds that located on the rich and fertile Chia-Nan Plain, Tainan’s six rural districts of Xinying, Liuying, Baihe, Hobi, Yanshui, and Dongshan have developed distinctive rural culture. With the joint effort of returning youngsters and enthusiastic locals, she hopes to present a series of well-designed routes linking various tourist attractions that showcase Tainan’s characteristic rural culture and achievements of community development. The audio guide with various travel routes will be available online with QR codes, offering foreign backpackers easy access to in-depth understanding of Tainan’s rural culture and stories behind each village.
OEASOL notes that the initial planning of the four routes has been completed. A group of reviewers composed of a renowned travel blogger and several international students from NCKU will test these routes on their own to see whether they are truly backpacker-friendly. The results of the evaluation will serve as the basis for further improvement before the routes are finalized and opened to the public.