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County News
Taitung to Learn about Being a Slow City from South Korea
Date: 2016-03-05    
Taitung is the first place Taiwanese people think of when it comes to slow-paced, easy living and traveling. In recent years, through actively promoting the integration of the “slow food” industry and “slow city” concepts, many localities have already begun to move toward becoming slow cities as defined by Cittaslow International. The term “Cittaslow” (meaning “slow city”) first came into use in Italy, and the all-encompassing concepts of Cittaslow International were first birthed by the slow food movement. Since 1999, growth has been rapid with nearly 200 cities in 30 countries having become certified slow cities. Joining Cittaslow International and encouraging localities within Taitung County to become certified is yet another good opportunity for Taitung to connect to the world.

Magistrate Huang and a team from the Taitung County Government were in Korea between March 2 and 5. In addition to visiting Hanyang University Honorary Professor and Chairman of Cittaslow South Korea, Dehyun Sohn, they also went to the slow city of Joan-Myeon, Namyangju City in Gyeonggi Province. South Korea began promoting the slow city movement in 2006, and it is the Asian country that has been the most proactive in doing so. In 10 years, it has had 12 localities certified as slow cities, each having the characteristics of being fishing/agriculture villages or possessing traditional culture. The South Korean authorities have made slow cities a travel theme of the whole country, regularly holding slow food festivals while driving a rich international exchange and increasing the flow of international tourists. This all began in the private sector, and with the later and intense support and affirmation by the government, a network of related processes was built and preparations for international tourism were made in line with demand. This is something Taitung can really learn from. The magistrate looks forward to the new friends made in Korea coming to visit later this year to get a firsthand taste of what Taitung has to offer.

Beginning in 2014, areas in Taiwan outside of Taitung have attained slow city certification, but Taitung’s work regarding slow food and becoming a slow city began as far back as 2011. In trying to obtain slow city certification, many localities in Taitung are already very qualified, but moving toward certification too quickly is not beneficial. Being pragmatic is the most important thing, and places that receive certification should truly meet requirements instead of only doing so superficially. Currently, Chishang, Guanshan, and Luye Townships are working toward certification, and they already meet requirements concerning nature and culture, and the locals already subscribe to the concepts of slow food and slow cities. The County Government believes that attaining slow city certification will make the futures of such places even brighter and will further international horizons. Through these means, Taitung will become a paradise of slow living and slow traveling known around the world.
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