Houston Community News >> Taiwan Holds F4 Boy Band Meeting to Boost Tourism

10/28/2007 Taipei - Taiwan on Sunday held the second fans meeting for its F4 boy band, hoping to attract tourists and boost Taiwan's slow-growing tourism. Some 5,000 Asian fans, mostly young and middle-aged women from Japan and South Korea, flew to Taipei to meet the F4 members, visit the locations of F4's TV drama the Meteor Garden and to buy F4 T-shirts, posters and CDs.

The fans' meeting, the second after one held last April, was staged by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau at the National Taiwan University Gymnasium.

The fans snapped up F4 goods before marching into the gymnasium to meet the F4 stars - Jerry Yan, Vic Zhou, Wanness Wu, Ken Chu - all handsome boys in their 20s.

The F4 members, Taiwan's tourism ambassadors, introduced Taiwan's scenic spots and food, posed photos and played ganes with selected fans before ending the hour-long meetins by singing together a song and shaking hands with the fans sitting near the stage.

F4's fans arrived in Taiwan early this week and have already attended separate fans meetings with their favorite F4 member.

The F4 became famous thoughout Asia after its TV drama Meteor Garden was shown in Taiwan and Southeast Asia in 2001. Their Asian fans, from teenage girls to grannies, like the four boys mainly because of their good looks.

Motomi Unmeki, 30, an office worker from Osaka, Japan, said she has been a fan a fan of Jerry Yan for five years and has attended Jerry's fans meeting in Hong Kong and South Korea.

When asked why she likes Jerry, she covered her mouth and whispered through giggles: "His face. He is handsome and cool."

An 18-member fans group from the Philippines gave the same answer. The groups members, also fans of Jerry, range in age from 10 to 52, and the youngest is Christian Louis Abrigo, a fourth-grade boy from Manila who came with his mother.

"I like Jerry because he sings well and he is good-looking," he said.

Taiwan, encouraged by Japan and South Korea's success in drawing foreign tourists by promoting local film or television stars, appointed the F4 members as tourism ambassadors, using them to make TV ads, sending them abroad to promote Taiwan's tourism and holding the first overseas fans meeting in Taipei in April.

Taiwan press said the two fans meetings have brought Taiwan millions of US dollars. The week-long F4 package tours have not only brought in foreign currency but also promoted Taiwan's tourist spots.

Despite its rich culture and beautiful scenery, Taiwan has met obstacles in boosting its tourism due to its five-decade ban on air and sea links with China, which is set to become the world's top source of outbound tourists.

As the arrival of Chinese tourists is still out of sight due to continued cross-Strait tension, Taiwan recently revised down its 2008 inbound tourists target from five million to four million.

In 2006 Taiwan received 3.5 million foreign tourists, up 4.2 per cent from 2005 with Japanese and South Koreans comprising the largest share.

(Contributed by Earthtimes.org)