It’s Mid-September and the unusually oppressive heat of summer is fading at last, replaced by the rich, windy weather (and occasional typhoon) for which Taiwan autumns are known. As a cyclist, it’s my favorite time of the year, and this week’s column would probably be about my upcoming weekend cycling plans, if I’d not been sidetracked by an experience I had in Tainan on Monday, delivering a keynote address on the subject of “Branding Taiwan’s Cities”.
現在是九月中旬，夏天異常炎熱的時候正在消失，取而代之的是秋風豐富的獨特台灣天氣（偶爾有颱風）。 作為一名自行車騎士，這是我每一年中最喜歡的一季節，如果不是周一我在台南體驗的一段經歷，本週的文章可能是關於即將到來的周末自行車計劃。我那時候就這個題目發表主題演講 “品牌化台灣的城市”。
In typical Friday Column tradition (and in keeping with Lao Tzu’s maxim on travel), I may take a winding route to reach the destination.
Before coming on board with MyTaiwanTour I worked as a travel writer, both for travel-guide giant Lonely Planet and several dozen other smaller publications, periodicals and travel websites. Though my work brought me to many places around the world (Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Belize and all over China, just to name a few), my specialty has generally been writing about urban areas. I have an affinity for cities, and have always said that given 72 hours in any city I can gather enough information to be able to offer sound advice to any first-time traveler.
My usual method for getting to know a city is as follows: Before leaving, I do some basic research on the city I’m about to visit. Local history, must-see sights, signature dishes, that sort of thing. Once I hit the ground, I forget 90% of this and get myself purposely lost for as many hours as possible. This is in line not just with Lao Tzu’s maxim about having no fixed goals, but also with that of American writer Lawrence Block, who writes, “Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.”
Lawrence Block is from from New York City, and so am I. Which is as good a segue as any to the subject of City Branding.
If I were to walk into a crowded elevator anywhere in the English speaking world singing
Start Spreading the news…
I’m leaving today…
I wanna be a part of it…
And then point to someone at random, chances are better than average that they’d respond
New York, New York!
NYC is easily the most well-branded city on the planet. Barely a day goes by in Taiwan where I don’t run into at least a couple of people advertising some aspect of my hometown on their clothing, whether it’s a T-shirt bearing the letters NYC, some variation of the city’s iconic skyline, or just the NY Yankees Logo. I’ve had farmers in rural China ask me where I’m from, and when I’ve answered Niǔyuē (New York), they’ve given me the thumbs up and responded Dà píngguǒ! (The Big Apple!)
紐約市很容易成為地球上品牌最好的城市。 在台灣我幾乎每天至少會遇到一些穿著廣告我的家某個方面的衣服, 不管是帶有NYC字母的T卹，紐約城的天際線的某個角度，或 只是紐約洋基標誌。 我曾在中國農村有遇過農民問我從哪裡來，當我用中文回答 “紐約” 的時候，他們給了我大拇指，並回應了”大蘋果！”
Not surprisingly, New York City has consistently been one of the world’s top ten most visited cities for decades. While I gave up NYC residency about the same time I came legally of age, I’ve never given up my identity as a New Yorker (or the distinctive accent).
毫不奇怪，紐約市數十年來一直是世界十大旅遊的城市之一。 雖然我早就放 棄紐約市居民”法律上的”身份，我還沒有放棄我作為紐約人的身份（或特殊的口音）。
So, finding myself among esteemed company as one of two keynote speakers at a seminar put on by the Dream Travel Taiwan Alliance (the overarching purpose of which was to share and discuss best practices in international destination marketing and the latest trends in the global tourism industry, specifically as applied to cities looking to develop their own marketability as tourist destinations), I began by speaking about the success that New York has had in branding itself.
因此，我在 “ 讓世界旅人。看見台灣” (Dream Travel Taiwan Alliance) 舉辦的一個研討會上，發現自己是在重大人物之中當主題講師，主要目的是分享和討論國際目旅遊行銷的最佳實踐和全球旅遊業的最新趨勢 ，特別是適用於希望發展和市場化為旅遊目的地的城市），我首先談到紐約在品牌化方面取得的成功.
I specifically started with New York, despite the fact that I realize the impossibility of any other city replicating NYC’s formula for success. NYC has so many icons (Times Square, The Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building, a globally-known song called New York, New York, for god’s sake) that it would be impossible for any city lacking these things to ever be as successful at branding itself as a tourist destination.
Or is it?
First, everything that Singapore does well, it does really well. Great food, great transportation, great nightlife and cool, safe neighborhoods in which to wander. If you’re going to Singapore for those four things, you’re going to have an excellent time. Singapore has fine museums and good shopping, but these are not the things that primarily draw people to visit Singapore. It’s the food, convenience, nightlife and “safely exotic” vibe that brings visitors in by the millions.
首先，新加坡所做好的一切，確實做得很好。 美味的食物，很棒的交通，良好的夜生活和涼爽，安全的街區，令人放心在其中漫步。 如果你要為了 以上的四件事情去新加坡，你會有一個美好的經驗。 新加坡有很好的博物館和很好的購物場所，但這些並不是主要吸引人來新加坡的東西。 主要是食物，方便，夜生活和“安全的異國情調”的氛圍，帶來數百萬的遊客。
Second, and as importantly, Singapore knows how to get the message out about what it does offer. If I were to walk into any elevator in the world and ask random strangers (in their language of course) about Singapore, chances are better than average that they’d respond with some variation of “Great food, safe, clean and easy to get around.” (I doubt the Merlion would even come up.)
其次，同樣重要的是，新加坡知道如何將訊息傳達出去。 如果我要走進世界上任何一台電梯，問任何陌生人（當然是用他們的語言）關於新加坡的話，那麼他們會回應一些“偉大的食物，安全，乾淨，交通方便.” （我懷疑他們會提到魚尾獅。）
I’m of the opinion that, like in the case of Singapore, iconography will not be the most important part in the success of getting the message out about what Taiwan’s cities have to offer travelers. True, Taipei has done pretty well for itself with Taipei 101 (which kind of serves double duty as overall branding icon for Taiwan), but I don’t believe that people visit Taipei specifically to visit Taipei 101. It may be a focus point, and a good symbol, but a visit to Taipei 101 should just be a small part of any Taipei visit.
我認為，像新加坡一樣，在傳達台灣的城市能提供給旅客的好處的時候，地標不會是最重要的部分。 的確，台北在101（台灣整體品牌形象的雙重職責）方面做得相當不錯，但我不相信觀光客為了101而專門去拜訪台北.這可能是一個焦點， 且一個很好的象徵，但是參觀台北101應該只是旅遊台北的一小部分。
Other Taiwanese cities offer their own unique variety of experiences and, like Singapore, defy traditional single-sentence branding.
Tainan (where the meeting was held) is a hotbed of culture – not just traditional Han Chinese culture, but a sort of new, hipster culture with a vibrant nightlife featuring artist-run coffee shops and collectives in winding cobblestone alleys built during the Qing dynasty. (Not for nothing is one of the chapters of my upcoming book called “Tainan is the Portland of Taiwan”.)
台南（會議的地點）是一個文化焦點，不僅是傳統的漢族文化，而且是一種新興的時髦文化，擁有充滿活力的夜生活，藝術家經營的咖啡店和聚集體在清朝修建的鵝卵石小巷。 （順便提一下, 我即將出版的“台南是台灣的波特蘭”書的其中一個章節是關於這個）
I spent a most excellent week in Taichung earlier this year, visiting world-class museums, art parks, restaurants and night markets. I also went scuba diving in a hotel in the middle of the city. (Google “Dive Cube Hotel Taichung” for more info on this most unique venue, a hotel with an 18-meter-deep scuba diving pool).
今年早些時候，我在台中度過了一個非常好的一周，參觀世界級的博物館，藝術公園，餐館和夜市。 我也在市中心的一家酒店去潛水。 （去谷歌:“台中潛水立方酒店”了解更多有關這個最獨特場地的資料，一家擁有18米深潛水游泳池的酒店）。
Kaohsiung, which many international visitors have traditionally seen as a place to pass through on the way to Kenting, is working to brand itself as a sort of slower-paced Taipei, an international harbor city with art, music and culture, not to mention amazing temples and superlative food. I spent several days there earlier this year and found it to be all that and more. Still, I’d be hard pressed to summarize this into a single sentence, let alone an icon – besides that hotel with the two legs (and maybe the Love River).
高雄，一個許多國際遊客被視為去墾丁必經過的地方，正在努力將自身品牌作為一種節奏慢台北的國際港口城市，藝術，音樂和文化，更何況驚人寺廟和最高級的食物。今年早些時候，我在那邊待了好幾天，發現它真的是這樣子, 還有更多。儘管如此，我還是很難把以上所說的總結成一句話，更不用說一個地標- 除了那個有兩條腿的酒店（也許愛河）。
And this may be for the best. To paraphrase another speaker at the seminar (one whose finger was firmly on the pulse of current travel trends), today’s travel trends are increasingly being shaped by millennials, and millennials are increasingly looking for experiences matching their own interests and passions, rather than some great collective consciousness’ idea of what a vacation should be.
Taiwan’s cities offer a vast array of experiences catering to a wide variety of interests. Though this wide appeal makes Taiwan’s cities difficult to “summarize”, it make them way more worth visiting.
這可能是最好的情形。我套用在研討會上的另一位發言人的話:（一個非常了解當前的旅遊潮流趨勢），今天的旅遊趨勢日益受到千禧狀，千禧一代越來越多人尋找配自己的興趣和愛好的經驗，而不是一些 “偉大集體” 認為怎麼樣才是渡假。
It’s just a question of getting the message out.
And New York City boy though I am, my advice to my friends in charge of doing this is to look to Singapore for inspiration.
Until next week, Joshua Samuel Brown
Editor in Chief, MyTaiwanTour
直到下週，喬舒亞·薩繆爾·布朗 (Joshua Samuel Brown)
(Branding Taiwan’s Cities 品牌化台灣的城市) originally ran at the MyTaiwanTour Journal. All photos and text posted in the above blog were taken from https://www.mytaiwantour.com/blog/. Follow this link for more stories like this one!
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（Branding Taiwan’s Cities 品牌化台灣的城市）最初跑在MyTaiwanTour學報。 https://www.mytaiwantour.com/blog/. 點擊此鏈接獲得更多這樣的故事！
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(Taiwan is strange and new to foreigners. Many things in Taiwan take foreigners by surprise. As Americans we want Taiwanese people to know what kind of questions foreigners have when first coming to Taiwan. This is by no means a complete list, but is written with the intent to help Taiwanese and Foreigners have a better understanding of one another’s culture.)
10. 怎麽這麽多機車？ Why are There so Many Scooters?
(In comparison, there are very few mopeds or scooters in foreign countries, especially in places with vast amounts of land such as the U.S. and Canada. Foreigners coming to Taiwan for the first time may be taken aback, and may feel that scooters in Taiwan are too loud and pollute the environment.)
9. 爲什麽到處是哈比人房屋？Why are there Hobbit Homes Everywhere?
(Taiwan has many intrastate tombs scattered throughout Taiwan, that look different from typical gravestones in other countries. Foreigners unfamiliar with Taiwan’s traditions and culture may misinterpret these tombs as actually being houses, houses that look a lot like hobbit homes from the Lord of the Rings.)
8. 怎麽到處都沒有垃圾桶？Why are There no Garbage Cans Anywhere?
(For many foreigners one of the first places they go sight-seeing is a night market. Some night markets do not mark trash canisters well if at all. This in addition to the foreign tourist always having to hold garbage in their hands can lead to some frustration and complaining.)
7. 爲什麽你的名字叫“Apple?” Why Is Your Name Apple?
(“Apple” in English is not a name. Despite this, there are still many Taiwanese children with the name “Apple” or similar non-names such as “Seven” or “Taco.” These are the Chinese equivalent of being called “warm drinking water” or “wood forest.”)
6. 我爲什麽一定要吃臭豆腐？Why do I Have to
Eat Some Stinky Tofu?
(For people that have never eaten stinky tofu, it really stinks, like raw sewage. But still Taiwanese people insist that ever new foreigner try this tasty delicacy, even though it is torture for most of them.)
5. 大家戴口罩是因爲…? What’s the Deal With Everyone Wearing Masks?
(In Taiwan it is courteous and polite to wear masks in public if one is sick to prevent communicable disease from spreading. My Taiwanese friends this trend started with the outbreak of bird flu a few years ago. It is also common to wear masks when riding a scooter to prevent breathing in pollutants. However, foreigners don’t know about this trend. In western countries it is common to wear surgical masks only in a hospital, so when they come to Taiwan and see so many people on the street wearing surgical masks, they may get confused.)
4. 爲什麽穿牛仔褲去海邊玩水？Why are so Many People Wearing Jeans at the Beach?
(Many western people come to Taiwan to enjoy its tropical beaches, wear a swim suit, get tan, and swim in the ocean. But many Taiwanese are more conservative when they go to the beach, hiding from the sun in long sleeves, long pants, and under umbrellas. Foreigners seeing Taiwanese people stomp in the ocean with long pants and umbrellas might shake their heads in curiosity.)
3. 大晴天爲什麽有人帶雨傘？Why do People Have Umbrellas out When it's Sunny?
(Foreigners with lighter skin tend to want to tan themselves and make their skin darker. Americans spend thousands of dollars a year in tanning salons, and umbrellas are almost never used for blocking out the sun’s rays. So when foreigners come to Taiwan and see people with umbrellas in the 30 degree weather, they might think it strange.)
2. 怎麽到處都沒有厠所？Why are there No Restrooms Anywhere?
(In America there seems to be a bathroom in every shop or store, however in Taiwan foreigners might be shocked to find that not every restaurant or store has a restroom. I’ve known a few foreigners who because of this have dirtied their underwear. I’ll stop there.)
1. 臺灣不是泰國嗎？Isn’t Taiwan the Same Thing as Thailand?
(It’s really sad but many foreigners don’t even know that Taiwan exists, or think that it is another name for Thailand, or simply know very little about the geography of Asia. But on the other hand I doubt the average Taiwanese citizen can name all 50 states.)
Like we said in the beginning, this list is not a complete statistical analysis with scientific data. It is just some fun things that foreigners think about when coming to Taiwan. If you feel like we missed anything, please let us know in the comments below! And don’t forget to like and share!
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.