Taiwan's northeast and Yilan Coast named finalist in 'tourism's Nobel'

Taiwan's northeast and Yilan Coast named finalist in 'tourism's Nobel'
Tourists on a whale-spotting trip off the coast of Taiwan's northeastern Yilan county, one of the novel attractions the county government hopes will draw free-and-easy tourists from China.

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Northeast Taiwan was recently named a finalist in the Destination Award category of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2015

The awards, which were announced in Madrid on April 15, are known as the "Nobel prize in tourism," according to the Northeast and Yilan Coast National Scenic Area Administration.

Featuring heavily in the administration's bid in the awards is the Old Caoling Trail Circle-Line Bikeway in Fulong.

The trail, Taiwan's first and only contestant in the Destination Award, emerged from the competition of 158 nominees from 57 countries and regions worldwide.

Slovenia's capital city Ljubjana took the award while the Northeast and Yilan Coast and Bulgaria's Sozopol are listed as finalists.

The Old Caoling Tunnel, now known as the Old Caoling Trail Circle-Line Bikeway, was originally 2.167 kilometers in length and was constructed during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. Due to the electrification of railways and the unusable single track, a newer tunnel was constructed in 1986, and the old tunnel was abandoned for nearly two decades until it was reopened in 2009 as a tourist biking trail.

Through years of effort, the administration transformed the tunnel into the charming, renovated biking trail it is today, inextricably binding local history and culture with its long, winding path. The Old Caoling Trail also kick-started the economic growth of Fulong, encouraging its local businesses to grow by paving the way for environmentally friendly tourism and sustainable development.

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