In order to boost the overall quality of Tainan’s English-friendly environment, OEASOL (Office of English as the Second Official Language) of Tainan City Government joined hands with Rebecca Lee, the general manager of Silks Place Tainan, one of the Tainan-based five star hotels, to launch a counseling project dedicated to assisting local B&B’s with the construction of a bilingual environment.
The project is led by an “English-friendly Counseling Group” made up of managers from different departments of the hotel. Under the leadership of Rebecca Lee, the task force will look at the bilingual environments of local hostels and B&B’s, providing practical advice based on their expertise in tourism and hotel management. At the end of the project, the counseling group will publish a “Manual for Building English-Friendly Environment for Tainan’s Hotels and Hostels” based on the results of its evaluation. The manual will list necessary items and signs that need to be made bilingual as well as sample dialogues for B&B and hotel operators to follow.
OEASOL notes that, though there is, seemingly, rivalry between hotel and B&B businesses, the project intends to enable both parties to work hand in hand to expand the market and create greater business opportunities, which will in turn boost the overall development of Tainan’s tourism.
The project is well-received by local B&B’s; the limited 20 openings were immediately filled up upon the release of news. OEASOL will help the selected ones with the translation of bilingual documents, including pamphlets, room-type descriptions, and reservation notices. It will also organize a workshop on the construction of a bilingual environment for B&B’s and hostels, which is open to all interested legal B&B operators around Tainan.
Earlier on July 9, the counseling group visited the newly opened Cao Ji Book Inn, which has been widely acclaimed by netizens for its cultural atmosphere. Lee noted that the space of the hostel is pretty cozy and teems with Tainan’s typical elements. The counselors suggested more emergency signs to be added to the existing bilingual signs to further improve the English-friendly environment.
In the previous week, Lee herself visited five of the selected B&B’s and suggested bilingual signs be installed based on the actual conditions of the space. She also noticed that quite a few hostels are located in alleys but missing signs on the streets that show directions for foreigners to navigate. To cope with this problem, OEASOL has developed an online navigation system of English-Friendly B&B’s and hostels in Tainan, where all the necessary information regarding access, contact, and booking is incorporated into Google Map, enabling users to locate their B&B’s with a simple click.
Chou Rong-tang, the operator of Cao Ji Book Inn and the director of Tainan Homestay Culture Association, recognized OEASOL’s efforts to assist hostels with the production of bilingual documents. He said the counseling group project is innovative and substantially helpful in that it not only gets all the local hotel and B&B businesses involved in the endeavor of establishing English-friendly environment, but also provides operators with practical advice on how to create a truly foreign guest-friendly space that meets their actual demand.