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 Sustainable Travel Taiwan

Taiwan, a small island in the Pacific next to the huge country called China, may not be well-known by many westerners.  However, this small island, about the combined size of Maryland and Delaware, was the 18th largest economy in the latest World Trade Organization report (among 131 economies), and its advanced technology industry plays a key role in the global economy.  Meanwhile, in terms of health care quality, public education, economic freedom, public transportation, and human development, Taiwan is highly developed.  Hopefully, this little introduction will give you some ideas about Taiwan.

The relationship between Taiwan and China is a long and complicated story.  But in short, many people living in Taiwan now are in fact the offspring of immigrants from China, and the traditional Chinese culture has had a great influence on Taiwan for centuries.  Among all the precious values held by the Taiwanese people, one of the most important is to live in harmony with nature.

The concept of Sustainable Travel, or Sustainable Tourism, are relatively new in Taiwan, but they echo with the core values of our traditional culture.  Over the past few decades, Taiwan has been blessed with a so-called “Economic Miracle” in terms of our economic growth.  However, the pursuit of growth in GDP and the blind embrace of capitalism, has also taken its toll on the natural and social environment of Taiwan.  Over the past decade or so, more and more people have awakened and have taken action to re-build sustainable communities and advocate for the importance of environmental protection and preservation of natural resources. The concept of eco-travel has been widely known and accepted with the progress of this “green movement”.

In 2008, a group of young Taiwanese believed there must be a way to develop economic growth through sustainable travel/tourism, in which the local community and natural environment is not only preserved, but even thrives.  Our efforts to promote awareness over the past few years eventually gave birth to Sustainable Travel International Taiwan (STI Taiwan), with the full-support from Sustainable Travel International (STI), a non-profit organization based in Portland Oregon.

Our main goal  is to promote awareness of Sustainable Taiwan.  We aim to reach that goal in two ways:

First, we aim to promote the sustainable program to local businesses in the tourism industry among the Chinese community.

Second, we aim to promote the public’s awareness in “sustainable tourism”and “responsible travel.”

We believe that consumers/tourists can effect a change in the tourism industry when their travel experience is more enriched and in-depth, and when they learn that by making a conscious choice in selecting their tour operator, transportation, accommodation, and the way they interact with the local people, they are making a positive change in the community they are visiting.  It is a choice we encourage everyone to make – because, we are all travelers, traveling on a planet called Earth.

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