Taiwanese Startup Promotes Local Issues Through ‘Blind’ Travel

Taiwanese Startup Promotes Local Issues Through ‘Blind’ Travel
Photo: Blind Tour

What you need to know

These young entrepreneurs want travelers to go deep and really get to know their destination.

A group of young entrepreneurs from National Chengchi University (NCCU) in Taiwan is looking to create a new kind of holiday experience that combines recreational activities with local issues.

Their startup is called Blind Tour, and the company organizes tours within Taiwan for their customers. The catch? Travelers on a blind tour do not know where they are going and what they will be doing when they get there.

“There are no tour guides, just our ‘Blind Tour Book,’ a booklet with instructions on what to do at a given time while you are on the trip,” Kuma Ku (古佳玉), CEO of Blind Tour, told The News Lens International.

The idea for Blind Tour came about as part of Ku and her team’s graduation production, a requirement for graduation at NCCU’s major in advertising.

“Instead of a production that ended along with senior year, we wanted something that would last,” Ku said.

At the heart of Blind Tour is something the group calls the “seven three theory” (七三理論).

“We try to provide travelers with seven pieces of candy, and three doses of vitamins,” Ku explains.

“Candy” refers to all the elements to make a great holiday — good food and pretty sights; the “vitamins” are the local issues. Blind Tour wants travelers to really get to know their destinations, even if it makes them uncomfortable.

“For example, we might ask travelers to change trains four times just to get to a remote village, so that they understand how difficult it is for the local people who live there,” Ku told TNLI.

Photo: Blind Tour
Tourists get to try their hand at making local cuisine.

Ku said they obtain tour route recommendations from the locals. They have built a network of local “key persons” that would give them the best suggestions on how to travel each of their destinations.

Blythe Chang (張瑜庭), who went on a Blind Tour, said she had the opportunity to pick and wrap betel nuts.

“It really changed my perception about betel nuts, and I realized that wrapping betel nuts actually requires skill and years of practice,” Chang said.

Transitioning from school production to an actual company has also proved challenging for these fresh graduates. The group is mainly comprised of graduates from communications majors, and Ku said they still have a lot to learn, especially the legal and financial aspects of setting up a business.

“And since we’re friends, we’re also still learning how to balance friendship with business,” Ku says.

Despite all that, the team believes that their business model – the blind tour – gives them the flexibility to plan for different consumer bases, like tours for older generations or families. This, they think, is what will separate them from other startups targeting the tourism industry.

“What we’re really trying to do is tell local stories through travel,” Ku says. “Our real product is the surprises that travelers will discover within Taiwan.”

Edited by J. Michael Cole