“The Goal in the Current Tourism Industry is To Create A New Value through Innovative Ideas ” – Ken Worker (Part I)
How does Taiwan, as part of backpacker stops, overcome the current traditional tourism industry, and to embrace new ways of managing the new patterns in tourism industry?
Kinmen, a place with resourceful nature and history, seemed to be able to develop a more successful visiting spot than other locations in Taiwan. However, due to the traditional tourism business, Kinmen seldom attracts others’ attention for its beauty and culture. We cannot even recognize the location of Kinmen on the map. Therefore, it is imaginable that backpackers will not consider Kinmen as a place to visit.
“Tourism Panel – The Past and The Future of Tourism Innovation” was co-hosted by SMEA, MOEA and PanMedia on December 7, 2015 in Kinmen County Cultural Center. The panel invited the president of Pantravel, Chien-I Wu, who is known as the blogger Ken Worker, has many years of work experience in tourism industry, to share his thoughts from “technology,” “social networks,” and “experience” perspectives on Taiwan’s tourism business from the past to the future.
Many participants of the panel are in tourism business and most of them are having B&B (Bed-and Breakfast) business in Kinmen. They all had diverse backgrounds before returning Kinmen to promote its tourism business, and the purpose for them is to find a strategy to define Kinmen’s tourism industry in the transition of business.
“I am from Yilan, and was a tour guide. When I arrived in Kinmen today, I realized that it is completely different from the last time I visited four to five years ago.” Ken Worker said.
After a failure on the Internet startup business in 2010, he still believes the impact of Internet today in different kinds of business. “I am not as familiar as B&B business as the audience, but I would like to share my work in the past years as a tour guide and my experience on using a new tool to promote the tourism business.”
The Development of Tourism Websites: A revolution of “Blogger Travel”
First, Ken Worker divided the development of tourism Internet into three stages.
Stage 1: 1997 – 2004
This stage is when the Internet was just introduced in the tourism industry, such as EZ Travel and Lion Travel, both of which were established during this period. Interestingly, it is not common in Taiwan to do the business as OTA (Online Travel Agent) in comparison of the popular trend of having OTA in China.
Stage 2: 2004 – 2010
“Social Networks” as part of the business in tourism started to appear in this stage, such as Backpackers, Blogger Travel or Yahoo Travel, which focus on communications between consumers and agents. Thus, the tourism business pattern more or less would be affected by the social networking websites.
Stage 3: 2011 – Now
Niceday is currently the biggest travel website in Taiwan, which also promoted the development of different kinds of tourism innovation. Ken Worker started the Blogger Travel project in 2005 after he observed the transition of tourism industry in Taiwan. “I had worked in CTS Travel, which was once the largest newspaper business in Taiwan. We will get countless booking for travelling as long as we published some articles or advertisements about travel information. However, the SARS in 2003 had a huge impact on the tourism industry and that was also the time watershed of tourism industry. The impact of newspapers became less than the Internet since then.
Ken Worker said, “we used to book flights tickets from agents you have known, or look for traveling information through traveling guides. But today, traveling guides is replaced by Internet and people would check out more information on people’s travelling blogs or photos. Thus, he decided to start the project named “Blogger Travel”, which provides resources for tour guide to start writing blogs, to communicate with consumers. This encourages those traditional tour guides to manage their personal brands as a travel expert.
What is the requirements of joining “Project for Bloggers?” Easy. You have to own a blog. Bloggers need to submit their existing articles for review and those whose blogs are selected can get discounted deal on a trip, and in exchange, they have to write a blog regarding the details of the trip afterwards. “We are able to get 40 travel blogs if we have 40 bloggers went on that trip. And most importantly, we can collect different experiences and perspectives from different people in the same trip from this project.”
The first destination of this project is Gueishan island. After this debut of the project, Ken Worker realized a huge spreading effect from the project. “The purpose of ‘Project for Bloggers’ is to manage and operate the tourism business through personal social networks, blogs and Internet media.”