Taipei, Feb. 24 (CNA) Tourism operators in Alishan National Forest Recreation Area in central Taiwan have adopted a new way to promote in-depth travel using locally grown coffee.
While Alishan is traditionally known for its natural scenery, operators said Wednesday they are brainstorming new travel packages that highlight personal engagement in the production know-how of local products.
From March 1 to April 28, the Tourism Bureau’s Alishan administration office will invite individuals involved in the growing and selling of coffee across Taiwan to stay at 20 coffee farms in the region, where they will learn authentic roasting techniques for mountain coffee beans.
The campaign aims to capitalize on the growing reputation of the Alishan coffee brand, said tourism official Chang Shu-feng (張淑楓), with local growers winning 14 out of 20 awards at the 2020 Taiwan Specialty Coffee Evaluation event.
“Instead of holding a business matchmaking event following increasing market inquiries, we thought why not expand it into a mini-vacation for coffee professionals?” Chang said.
As a result, the new travel program will allow 100 coffee professionals to stay in the mountains for about two months, harvesting and roasting raw beans with local farmers, who will also serve as their local tour guides.
While the registration fee for applicants is NT$50,000 (US$1,787), excluding accommodation, Chang said she believes there is sufficient market demand.
The event is a win-win for growers and coffee professionals, because the latter can experience coffee production, while both can gain marketing assistance from the bureau, she said.
For example, the bureau and the Chiayi County coffee association will help the two sides engage in crossover coffee-related ventures, Chang said.
The event could also be seen as a research and development opportunity, she said, adding that the new brands might take part in more competitions to increase the profitability of the Alishan brand.
Meanwhile, Chang said, she also hopes participants will post their experiences on social media so coffee lovers can learn about other things Alishan has to offer.
“We have other travel packages featuring coffee DIY events and romantic afternoon coffee parties tailored to meet a variety of needs,” she said.
A hotel operator in the offshore Matsu Islands is mulling a similar approach but with liquor.
Liu Hao-chen (劉浩晨), owner of Dayspring hotel in Nangan Township, has invited liquor importers to hold free wine tastings for local residents.
Although Matsu is best known for Gaoliang liquor, Liu said, the knowledge and appreciation of drinking culture is universal.
“Liquor can be sampled and enjoyed in various ways and we could develop a hybrid culture based on drinking by capitalizing on the already-famous local Gaoliang,” he said.
Liu said such ideas as wine tasting could also be applied to local cuisine which often uses Gaoliang in the cooking process.