On a weekday afternoon, Cheng Chao-wei was busy welcoming busloads of tourists to Kuo Yuan Ye Museum of Cake and Pastry in northern Taiwan’s Taoyuan City. The curator and his staff took the steady stream of visitors on tours of the production facility, introducing exhibits, hands-on activities and interactive games about specialty pastries for occasions like births, festivals and weddings.
“Our museum seeks to educate visitors about the history, culture and art of baking Chinese pastries,” Cheng said. “They also learn about the customs surrounding life’s major events in Chinese culture and the pastries that accompany them.”
Kuo Yuan Ye Foods is a leading Taiwan producer tracing its origins back 150 years. The museum portion of the manufacturing plant was established in 2001 to help preserve traditional Chinese baking practices and promote the company’s brand and products.
Such facilities, termed tourism factories, have become popular attractions nationwide in recent decades. According to the government-supported Industrial Technology Research Institute, Taiwan is home to 136 tourism factories in sectors spanning beauty and health care, food and alcohol, metalworking and robotics.
These sites attracted nearly 20 million visitors last year, almost double the roughly 10 million recorded in 2012, while total industry revenues for 2018 reached NT$4.7 billion (US$152 million), ITRI tallies show.
To raise awareness of the facilities among foreign visitors, the Industrial Development Bureau under the Ministry of Economic Affairs launched the International Spotlight Tourism Factory project in 2013. Implemented by ITRI, the initiative highlights sites that provide services in foreign languages. The locations are promoted in overseas advertising campaigns, media coverage and travel fairs. Kuo Yuan Ye is one of 16 sites nationwide selected for inclusion in the project to date.
“We initially promoted our museum as a destination for school field trips and domestic tourists, but in more recent years we’ve been placing a big emphasis on attracting foreign visitors,” said Chen Hsin-shou, executive manager of Kuo Yuan Ye’s museum. “We’ve developed tours and publicity materials in English, Japanese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese and created products catering to the tastes of people from different regions such as Southeast Asia.”
These efforts are paying dividends. Thanks in part to participation in the government-supported promotional project, Kuo Yuan Ye has seen a steady increase in visitors from about 160,000 in 2013 to 257,000 in 2018. The number of international visitors also rose sevenfold to around 70,000 over the same period. Such tasty growth figures augur well for the future of this delectable museum.
Source: Taiwan Today (https://taiwantoday.tw/index.php)