The Tainan City Government’s “English-Friendly Emblem Plan” encourages shops, temples, night markets, taxi drivers, and others to provide bilingual services based on the needs of foreigners, thereby enhancing the internationalization of Tainan. The Tainan City Government’s Office of English as the Second Official Language (OEASOL) recently extended its feelers to rural districts, inviting locals to compile four English-friendly rural travel itineraries. It harnessed the power of the public and private sectors to connect “points” into “lines” and “planes” with the aim of opening a doorway for international travelers to experience Tainan’s culture in depth.
The OEASOL said foreigners are especially interested in “off the beaten path attractions,” and Tainan’s traditional rural communities have many cultural landscapes that “aren’t listed in travel guides.” They are full of local characteristics, and very suitable for introducing to foreign friends. However, they lack related English-language information, making them inaccessible to foreigners, which is a pity. The OEASOL therefore teamed up with “Jingying Yuzhuan Special Agricultural Products Production Co-op” to have locals provide information on transportation and places of interest. The office then created written and audio itineraries in English aimed at foreign backpackers. It hoped to give foreigners interested in Tainan’s culture the opportunity to get to know six northern districts in depth while breathing new life into rural areas.
Former Tainan County Councilor and current Jingying Yuzhuan Special Agricultural Products Production Co-op manager Liu Gui-miao said she was very happy to have the opportunity to work with the OEASOL and help market the beauty of Tainan’s rural villages. She called on local people to collect and organize information on bus routes, bicycle rentals, accommodations, and scenic spots from the perspective of backpackers. This way, foreign backpackers will be able to experience the beauty of rural Tainan and the warmth of locals without having to drive their own cars.
Liu added the six districts of Sinying, Liuying, Baihe, Houbi, Yanshuei, and Dongshan, which are located in the Chiayi-Tainan Plain, have developed a distinctive rural culture, and a group of young people and youths who returned to their hometowns has been actively advocating cultural conservation and community building for some time. She hopes this project will rally all those who love this place and this land to plan and link interesting rural scenic spots, and then submit them to the OEASOL to create online English audio guides. International tourists can scan QR codes to immediately access this resource and begin to learn about local cultural characteristics in depth.
The OEASOL said the four routes are more or less complete, and it will invite famous bloggers and foreign students to test them out and ensure that the routes are really backpacker-friendly.