Hau sells Taiwan tourism in Hong Kong
By Chi-hao James Lo, The China Post
June 13, 2014, 12:04 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday returned to Taiwan from Hong Kong where he promoted travel destinations in Taipei with famed politician and commentator Sisy Chen Wen-hsien (陳文茜).
Hau and Chen attended the "Fun Taipei, By My Way" independent travel product launch event. Organized by the Kwang Hwa Information and Culture Centre (香港光華新聞文化中心), the event served as a precursor to the 28th International Travel Expo Hong Kong, promoting destinations and shopping products to prospective tourists to Taiwan.
Hau and Chen presented selected routes targeting both backpackers and independent travel couples, featuring destinations that are both romantic and economical.
The mayor personally promoted five romantic routes to couples, focusing on destinations such as the Beitou hot springs and the mini cafes around the city. In contrast to Hau, Chen recommended cultural destinations, which included historical sites and road side foods.
During the event, Hau lauded the increase in travelers to Taipei from Hong Kong and Macau. Every year, over one million tourists from both countries select Taipei as a travel destination, the mayor said. This year, Hau stated that he hopes the tourism from these countries will increase by up to 15 to 20 percent, bringing over 1.3 million people to travel to Taipei.
Hau Intends for Octopus Card and EasyCard Synchronization
In an interview with media, Hau stated his wish for the EasyCard of Taiwan to be synchronized with the contactless smart card of Hong Kong, the Octopus Card (八達通), in hopes of creating tourist convenience and growth in tourism for travelers from both countries.
The Octopus Card system in Hong Kong functions like the EasyCard. Octopus Cards were first used on public buses, railroads and ferries before being used on other forms of public transport and for shopping. Currently, the Octopus Card can also be used in schools, hospitals and even work and home areas.
Following the signing of the memorandum of understanding between Taiwan's EasyCard Corporation and the EZ-Link Pte. Ltd. of Singapore, EasyCard and EZ-Link are set to be synchronized for use in both countries. Hau stated that he intends for Taiwan and Hong Kong to have the same level of convenience as well.
The EasyCard Corporation has responded to the mayor's statement, saying that the synchronization is technically possible without difficulties. By installing Octopus Card prepaid chips onto EasyCards and vise versa, both cards will act as two-in-one contactless cards that will allow travelers to use public transportation in both cities.