EVA Air Launches Taipei-Chicago Nonstop Flight -- 長榮航空台北-芝加哥直飛航線啟航

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by CHIEN-CHOU "ANTONIO" LIAO and KIM MEIHUA ROY
Taiwanese commercial airlines are rigorously expanding service in North America to promote travel and tourism between Taiwan and the United States. Image: Flickr user Andrew W. Sieber. 台灣航空業者正為推廣台美觀光積極拓展與北美直飛航線。圖片來源: Flickr 用户Andrew W. Sieber。

This article is presented bilingually in English and Chinese. For Chinese, click here. 本文附有中英雙語版本。若需參閱中文版,請點擊此連結

EVA Air, Taiwan’s second largest commercial airline, launched its Taipei-O’Hare nonstop flight on November 3rd, making the Windy City the airline’s eighth service destination in the US. Currently, eight American cities provide nonstop service to Taiwan, and 109 nonstop flights occur between Taiwan and North America every week. Taiwan and the US are expanding travel options to facilitate bilateral tourism.

In September, a Taiwanese delegation of Tourism Bureau officials, travel agents, and business representatives visited New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles to promote tourism to Taiwan. From January-August 2016, over 330,000 Americans visited Taiwan, a year-on-year increase of 7.87%. Because Chinese tourism has declined sharply since May, North America is becoming one of the primary sources of visitor arrivals in Taiwan.

The Midwest awaits the creation of a nonstop flight route with Taiwan that could contribute nearly $200 million in economic activity annually to Greater Chicago. In 2015, Taiwanese travelers in the US spent more than $2.2 billion and over half went to easily accessible California. Yet according to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the new flight could help O’Hare Airport reach its goal of serving 55 million travelers annually by 2020.

Meanwhile, the popularity of ABC sitcom Fresh off the Boat has benefitted Taiwan’s tourism industry by garnering American media exposure for Taiwan. In October 2016, the show aired its season three premiere, which follows the main characters as they visit prominent landmarks in Taiwan like Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and the Grand Hotel. Local airlines, hotels, and government offered deals to underwrite the episode’s production. This episode marked the first time any American network TV show had ever filmed in Taipei.

US-Taiwan ties are growing in other facets besides travel and tourism. American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman James Moriarty announced in late October that the US and Taiwan will strengthen economic, educational, and global cooperation. Taiwan is America’s 12th largest trade partner and 7th largest source of international students. Last year, the two parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) establishing a framework to expand collaboration in transnational issues, including public health and humanitarian relief. 

Chien-Chou “Antonio” Liao is a Research Intern at the East-West Center in Washington and a recent graduate of American University School of International Service.

Kim Meihua Roy is a Research Intern at the East-West Center in Washington and a student at Brigham Young University.

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台灣第二大航空公司長榮航空於今年11月3日開啟了台北-芝加哥直飛航線,芝加哥屆時也將成為長榮航空在美國的第八個營運點。目前,美國共有八座城市提供與台灣直飛之航線,每週更有109個直飛航班次來回台灣及北美。在芝加哥與台灣開啟全新直飛航線之際,台灣及美國也正為促進台美觀光積極拓展旅遊多樣性。

台灣觀光局官員同旅遊業者及商業代表在今年9月時為推廣台灣觀光於紐約、芝加哥、及洛杉磯進行宣傳。據統計,截至今年八月,今年共有超過33萬美籍遊客來到台灣,比去年同期間成長了近8%。北美更自今年五月起由於大陸團客來台驟減而逐漸成為主要來台旅遊客源之一

對美國中西部而言,芝加哥-台北直飛航線預計將為芝加哥及其周邊地區帶動值約兩億美金的經貿活動。根據芝加哥市長拉姆·伊曼紐爾,該直飛航線將幫助芝加哥奧黑爾國際機場在2020年前達到單年服務五千五百萬旅客的目標。加州對台灣遊客來說始終是訪美最熱門的目的地,台灣遊客也於2015年在美國共消費了超過22億美金

與此同時,台灣旅遊業更受益於美國主流媒體對美國廣播公司熱門情景喜劇《菜鳥新移民》的相關報導。該劇第三季於今年10月首映,首集並跟随主角們返回台灣家鄉及參觀名勝古蹟,例如中正紀念堂及圓山大飯店。台灣航空公司、酒店及政府也向該劇提供協助拍攝。這一集更是美國電視節目前所未有地首次於台北進行拍攝

除了旅遊以外,美台關係亦在其他方面持續深化。新任美國在台協會主席莫健(英语:James Moriarty)於10月下旬宣布美國和台灣將加強經濟、教育和全球合作。台灣為美國第十二大貿易夥伴第七大國際學生輸出處。去年,雙方簽署了一份諒解備忘錄以建立擴大如公共衛生和人道救濟之跨國事務合作的框架。

廖建州目前是位於華盛頓特區東西方中心的實習生,並畢業於美利堅大學。

饶美华是东西方华盛顿中心的研究实习生和杨百翰大学学生

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