Taiwan launches cruise tourism R&D center in Kaohsiung
Chou Yung-hui (center left), director-general of the Tourism Bureau, joins NKUST President Yang Ching-yu (center right) and other officials in launching the cruise tourism R&D center Dec. 24 in Kaohsiung City, southern Taiwan. (Courtesy of NKUST)
A cruise tourism R&D center was launched Dec. 24 in Kaohsiung City, southern Taiwan, as part of public and private sector efforts to grow the country’s footprint in the potential-laden industry.
Based at National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology, the center is backed by the Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Kaohsiung City Government and the local branch of state-backed Taiwan International Ports Corp.
The center’s primary objectives include coordinating academia, business and government initiatives promoting sector development, policy research and talent cultivation, as well as deepening the involvement of Taiwan in related international networks.
Chou Yung-hui, director-general of the Tourism Bureau, said during the launch ceremony that Kaohsiung is an ideal location for the center given its status as one of the biggest ports in Asia and proximity to many popular cruise destinations throughout the region.
Taiwan steamed past Singapore to become the second-largest source of cruise passengers in Asia after China, Chou said, adding that this augurs well for the success of the center and underscores the need for the country to swiftly leverage its market advantage.
Echoing Chou’s remarks, NKUST President Yang Ching-yu said the center will extend the reach of existing university initiatives such as a cruise tourism certificate program while laying the groundwork for establishing a vocational school feeder network.
NKUST has the cruise tourism industry squarely in its sights. Earlier this year, it inked a related memorandum of understanding along with the Tourism Bureau, National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism and National Taiwan Ocean University in the northern port city of Keelung.
According to the Tourism Bureau, the pact will foster cooperation among travel operators from Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and Vietnam, as well as raise the country’s profile as a world-class cruise tourism destination.