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International cyclists invited to tour Taiwan with pedal power

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The government said Taiwan will launch a campaign this year that invites foreign backpackers to tour the island on bicycle as an initiative to boost Taiwan's tourism industry.

Liu Hsi-lin (劉喜臨), deputy director-general of the Tourism Bureau, said that as an incentive, the government will sell the bicycles at a very low price to those riders who cycle a set amount of miles as well as offer free air shipping for the bikes when the participants return home.

Inspired by the “Best Jobs in the World” campaign launched by Australia Tourism, the Australian government body tasked with attracting tourists, Liu said Taiwan is creating this event as a way to attract more travelers. Similar to the Australian campaign, which targets younger travelers, Taiwan is also aiming for the younger demographic. “While Australia provides award money as an incentive, Taiwan provides one new bike and transportation service,”

Liu said Taiwan has combined the bicycle industry with tourism and has already organized numerous events to promote the activity, such as “Come Bike Day” in 2012.

“This around-Taiwan cycling event launched by the Tourism Bureau is a way to promote exercise in a more interesting way. This will not just be a trip around Taiwan, either, but an event that boosts the bicycle industry,” he said.

The event will launch in July, targeting tourists from Japan, Korea and mainland China, Liu said. This will help promote the 2013 “Bike Day” in November, hopefully spreading knowledge of the event to tourists from Europe, he added.

Australia's “Best Jobs in the World” campaign, in which a candidate from outside the country is selected to take part in a fun-focused job in Australia, first occured in 2009. Although Taiwanese candidate Wang Shiu-yu (王秀毓) was among the top 16 candidates, she lost to Ben Southall from Briton. This year, Australia has re-launched the campaign, this time looking for “Taste Master,” “Chief Funster” and “Outback Adventurer,” along with a six-month salary package of roughly NT$3 million.

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