Taiwan at the WTTC’s annual conference

Summits are not my thing. Even as much as I love travelling, the World Travel and Tourism Council’s annual get-together in Beijing these few days is just a bit dry and (save for a few interesting reports) unenlightening. Where’s anything about eco-tourism? Voluntourism? They did talk a lot about sustainability and doing environmentally-friendly things (especially questioning the airline industry), but what about non-traditional travel that really tries to reinvent the meaning of tourism?

Anyway, two things that did amuse me to no end:

  • Newsweek, one of the summit’s sponsors, had a booth with issues of its May 24 and 31 double issue on global travel. In it is an article about Taiwan that described it as an “island nation.” Some poor worker had gone through literally hundreds, if not thousands, of copies with a Sharpie and blotted out “nation” in all of them.
  • During one panel discussion, moderator Erin Burnett of CNBC introduced herself as a big fan of travel, saying she has a goal of visiting 100 countries before proudly stating that she had visited her 65th one earlier in the week (or last week). Then she said that country was Taiwan. A very brief pause followed as the audience silently and collectively gasped, while Burnett immediately realized her faux pas: “…which sort of counts on my list,” she tried to clarify.

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