Taiwan Deserves Better Tourism Marketing than This


Yesterday we looked at the horrific social media marketing from the Taiwan Tourism’s New York office. Unfortunately it doesn’t end there. This is the Facebook page of Taiwan Tourism UK. All screenshots below were taken today, April 20, 2018.

The government’s tourism office in Frankfurt, Germany is responsible for this page since the Frankfurt office covers all marketing campaigns in Europe. As usual, there’s no verified checkmark on this account, or any of Taiwan’s official tourism accounts.

There are more than 11K likes. But sometimes it’s the only one liking its posts. Hey, there’s no shame in that.

Other times, the only share comes from 謝長明, the director of the Taiwan Tourism in the Frankfurt office. Yes, the boss is watching.

So what are they sharing out into the world about Taiwan?

There’s the expected word salad English like this post below about Ximending. Luckily it’s nowhere near as ludicrous as what was happening on the @triptotaiwan account.

But do they filter for appropriate content that shows the world how great Taiwan is? Of course not.

Below might be the first time in history that a government-run tourism account shared a video with the word “rape” in it. So part of their message is “come to Taiwan because you won’t get raped”? You can watch the whole thing here.

Like the NY-run account, Taiwan Tourism UK also has issues with using images without crediting sources. But the difference is they’re picking irrelevant images. If we’re discussing Taiwanese cuisine, which of the 4 images below doesn’t belong? That’s right. The one of steak.

Something else totally baffling is Taiwan’s official tourism office offering prizes of “GBP20 worth of ASOS vouchers”. What’s ASOS got to do with Taiwan? Nothing. ASOS is a fast fashion online store.

This new quiz concept started last Friday the 13th and entries were open for a week. There were zero entries.

Perhaps they’re trying to make everyone forget that Taiwan is just “an industrial hub”? No wait, they say it right here.

This one is particularly irritating. For a Lantern Festival promotion, they expected travelers to fill out this form, attach evidence of their itinerary, email it to a gmail account, then visit a specific counter between the hours of 4-9pm at the Lantern Festival in Chiayi County. Oh, with their passport. All to pick up this dog lantern.

Why didn’t this person think to show an image of the dog lantern with the post? You’re asking people to go to that much trouble and decide to entice them with this?

Is 謝長明 actually reading this stuff his office is producing? Apparently not. And it’s not the Frankfurt office that’s behind it. Note the email in the account’s contact info section.

Who is “Brighter Group”? Their website says: “We do travel PR, travel marketing, travel representation and everything in between – and, as our record shows, we do these really, really well.”

Taiwan is listed on their website as a client. The relationship goes all the way back to October 2012 when they won a “competitive six-way pitch”. Here’s the announcement.

Hello, is anyone at Taiwan Tourism paying attention? Does this count as some of Brighter Group’s best work? Or is someone in the Frankfurt office responsible? I’m just saying it might be time for another competitive six-way pitch.

So again, my big questions for the Taiwan Tourism Bureau…

  • When was the last time (or first time!) you audited your marketing strategy?
  • What’s the vetting process for your vendors? Who writes the Requests For Proposals (RFPs)?
  • Are there content guidelines in place for marketing and social media posts for the overseas offices?
  • Who decides the people managing and creating content for the official social media accounts?
  • Seriously, who’s behind the @triptotaiwan account? Is it okay for this account to block followers?
  • Finally, how much will you be spending this year to make Taiwan look so bad?

Top image credit: Logopedia

Comments (3):

  1. Robert Nutsch

    August 29, 2018 at 11:40

    As a German, just having worked in Taiwan for 2 years, in Marketing, and about to depart, I can tell you why “this” is all happening … it is easy, nobody cares about Marketing. That is the simple and correct answer. Marketing is printing a brochure and posting on social media, with no regard to quality of content or material. Sad, but true.

  2. Jeremy

    October 10, 2018 at 07:38

    I’ve learnt heaps from local You tubes like This is Taiwan, My life in Taiwan and Taiwan Everything. Will be traveling around the island in November.

  3. Inky

    February 14, 2019 at 22:55

    Your post just only scratches the surface of what goes on at the Tourism Bureau. Part of the problem seems to be that the entire organization is creatively bankrupt. From logos and slogans to photos, social media, magazines, and entire marketing campaigns, everything is outsourced, and on the cheap or to trusted friends.

    I once approached them to ask for photos of Taipei landmarks to accompany a magazine article. I had particularly wanted photos of Fisherman’s Wharf at Danshui, which is a major development with upmarket hotel, illuminated pedestrian bridge, and mini mall, among other things. What they offered was photos of dilapidated fishing boats tied up on a swampy riverbank. Not only were the images hilariously out of date, but the Tourism Bureau staffer thought these would be fine to print in a magazine article. They just didn’t seem to care.

    The photo library they offered at the time consisted of images at least 10 years old (and I mean ALL of them – the entire library.) But what was even more interesting was that the images appeared to have come from various photo competitions. They were sent in by members of the public, who had to sign over the copyright in order to have a chance to win a prize. So rather than compile professionally shot photos of Taiwan landmarks to give out to the international press, the Tourism Bureau was endlessly recycling these competition entries, and I’m sure the photographers received no royalties and had no idea where their material ended up being used.

    Around that time I had the chance to meet up with a media group flown in to Taiwan on one of the Tourism Bureau’s press junkets in association with one of Taiwan’s airlines. I didn’t have a lot of time to spend with the group, so I collected around a dozen business cards from various writers and asked them to pitch me Taiwan articles after they had returned home and had a chance to start writing. I was prepared to pay a reasonable rate, and expected a few of them to take me up on the offer. Number of pitches I got? Zero. Not even one. One of the group, who didn’t have a business card, explained to me that she was in Taiwan for a free vacation. Her journalist daughter, she said, had received an invitation to the junket and didn’t want to come, so the mother came in her place. Is there any follow-up to check if the taxpayer is getting a return on investment after funding these press junkets? I don’t know, but the chances are slim I reckon.

    This isn’t ever going to change unless there is major reform in Taiwanese government. Taxpayers’ money is being frittered away by incompetent civil servants who basically have no oversight whatsoever. And I don’t think the Tourism Bureau is any more inept than other government departments — it’s just that the results of its efforts are very visible.

    I suppose they can point at rising tourist numbers and claim it’s because of “great marketing.” But correlation isn’t causation. Tourism is on the rise throughout East Asia for many reasons – greater disposable income, more leisure time, cheaper airfares, more convenient flights, more and better hotels etc.


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