Taiwan: Come for the tourism, stay for the free Wi-Fi

Taiwan uses free widespread Wi-Fi at 4,400 hot spots to lure tourists. Visitors just need to open an account on the iTaiwan Wi-Fi network.

Flickr user toyoh_q

Taiwan is making it easy for foreign tourists to stay connected.

The government recently announced that international travelers to the country will be able to access free Wi-Fi at 4,400 hot spots at indoor public spaces throughout the country. By showing a passport, tourists can open an account on the 1Mbps iTaiwan Wi-Fi network that's found at major tourist spots, transportation hubs, cultural establishments, and government offices, covering much of the island nation.

"The Taiwan Tourism Bureau and the Research, Development, and Evaluation Commission are working to provide the utmost convenience for foreign visitors and eliminate any communications problems they may encounter," the Taiwan Tourism Bureau said in a statement. "This new service will considerably brighten Taiwan's already shining image for quality travel services."

The iTaiwan program isn't new. The government started it in 2011, with free Wi-Fi in 3,000 indoor public areas throughout the country. But until now it was only available for citizens.

Last year, the number of foreign tourists visiting Taiwan grew by 20 percent, with a record 7.3 million who helped the tourism industry generate $11 billion.

This story originally appeared on SmartPlanet.

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