Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau is stepping up efforts to make a strong case for hiking in the country’s mountain ranges as it prepares to market 2020 as the Year of Mountain Tourism.
The bureau has joined with the Construction and Planning Agency, which is responsible for distributing mountain permits, to set up a panel of experts and develop 12 mountain trails around Taiwan with unique cultural features, it said in a statement Wednesday.
Individuals who have wanted to visit restricted “ecological protected areas” in Taiwan’s national parks had to apply for permits from both the National Police Agency and the Construction and Planning Agency in the past.
But the Construction and Planning Agency launched a new mountain permit application portal that requires mountain visitors to apply for only one permit, and provides fast-track processing to expedite applications, the bureau said.
That environment has made hiking and mountain climbing one of the favorite pastimes of Taiwan residents, but exploring Taiwan’s mountains has become even more popular in recent years.
In 2018, foreign nationals accounted for 7.24 percent of the permits issued.