The Yomiuri ShimbunMINE, Yamaguchi — The city of Mine, Yamaguchi Prefecture, plans to launch a bike tour package that travels around tourist destinations with rich natural resources, as part of its efforts to increase the number of tourists from Taiwan.

The tour travels through locations including the Akiyoshidai karst plateau, targeting wealthy tourists from Taiwan, which has been experiencing rapid economic growth.

It plans to propose the tour package to travel agencies and other organizations in Taiwan as early as this summer.

The Mine city government has set up a tourism and promotion office in Taipei.

Learning through the local office that there is a growing demand for sports tourism in Taipei, the city conducted a study on promoting tours to the tourist spots in the city and its neighboring areas with beautiful natural surroundings.

With the number of foreign tourists increasing nationwide, the number to Mine from overseas also is sharply rising. Tourists from Taiwan numbered 1,066 in fiscal 2009, and rose to nearly seven times that — 7,330 — in fiscal 2017.

According to the city’s tourism promotion section, however, past tours have treated the Akiyoshido cave and other attractive tourist spots as transit points, and the tours were not long.

The city therefore designed a four-night, five-day tour in which guests stay at a hotel in Mine. Tourists are to cycle around tourist spots on the planned route such as the “karst road” that runs through Akiyoshidai, Tsunoshima Ohashi bridge in Shimonoseki, and Rurikoji temple’s five-story pagoda in Yamaguchi city, which is designated as a national treasure.

If Taiwan’s private tour agencies plan and sell a tour in Japan, they pay a consignment fee to travel agencies in Japan. However, there is no commission for tours planned and arranged by the city government, so it can provide the tour at a lower price to Taiwan people, according to the city.

In late April, the city invited a Taiwan cycling club team for a five-day trial tour.

On April 28, the cyclists left an observatory of Akiyoshidai, following an about 90-kilometer course to the Kajioka bokujyo beef cattle ranch, the Beppu Benten pond, which has been selected as one of Japan’s 100 “best waters” and other locations.

One of the participants said: “The course is great for enjoying the rich natural surroundings. I want to help promote the tour in Taiwan.”

Yasushi Sasaki, an official of the city’s tourism and promotion section, said, “We’ll rack our brains to attract foreign tourists to our city.”Speech


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