Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Traveling in Taiwan for Muslims

I've just received my copy of this new 104-page booklet issued by Taiwan's Tourism Bureau in conjunction with the Taiwan Visitors Association. I wrote half of the 17,000-word text, the bulk of which is no different to other guides to the island. There are descriptions of tourist attractions like Jinguashi and Lugang - plus also details of halal restaurants and information about mosques. Before working on this project, I had no idea there was a masjid in Tainan (it's located less than 5km from where I'm working at this very moment).

When I mentioned to friends I was helping write a guide for Muslim tourists, a common response was incredulity: Several people said, quite reasonably, that eating would be a problem for observant Muslims because so many Taiwanese dishes include pork. Nevertheless, I think publishing this booklet makes sense. Even though it doesn't contain a lot of fresh information, it sends a signal to potential visitors in Muslim countries that Taiwan welcomes then. Now that Muslim tourists aren't especially welcome in the US and some other places, it's a market that may well show lot of growth.

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