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Rough Guides' annual list of the top 10 countries to visit in 2017

2017-02-02

Taiwan is only just beginning to garner the attention it has always deserved. Cosmopolitan Taipei was named World Design Capital last year, highlighting its pioneering creative scene, new wave cafés and all-round sophisticated city life, while the country’s cuisine and night markets remain world renowned. China’s influence is obvious, of course, and the cultural remnants of the island’s past occupation by both Japanese and American forces are still discernible. But as the only democracy in the Chinese-speaking world, Taiwan has a unique geography, mentality and identity. The Rough Guide to Taiwan BUY THE GUIDE High-speed trains will whizz you out of cities to steamy forests and jagged mountains. Non-stop nightlife is never far from bubbling hot springs and sunny sub-tropical shores. Cutting-edge modern architecture sits side-by-side with ancient temples. Many travellers are only just waking up to all this island has to offer: get here before everyone else does. Source:https://www.roughguides.com/best-places/2017/top-10-countries/

Rough Guides' annual list of t...

The Best & Worst Places for Expats in 2016

2017-02-02

The newcomer Taiwan is this year’s winner, followed by an aspiring Malta, while Ecuador only just retains its place on the podium. Kuwait, Greece, and Nigeria remain at the bottom of the pack. Taiwan named best expat destination in the world Malta pushes Mexico off the podium Taiwan and Malta perform well in all areas of expat life Ecuador loses ground in terms of Working Abroad and Quality of Life Kuwait, Greece, and Nigeria remain last on the list Taiwan: Out with the Old, in with the New The newcomer Taiwan has ousted two-time champion Ecuador to win this year’s survey. In addition to claiming 1st place out of 67 countries in the overall ranking, it is in the top ten for every individual index! Taiwan holds first place in the Quality of Life and Personal Finance Indices, impressing with the quality and affordability of its healthcare and the enviable financial situation of expats living there. The Asian Tiger scores second place in the Working Abroad Index. Over one-third of expats in Taiwan (34%) are completely satisfied with their jobs, more than double the global average of 16%. Expats are similarly enthusiastic about their work-life balance (30%) and job security (34%). This small island country also holds second place for overall satisfaction with life abroad, with 93% voicing their general contentment. Only Spain has higher ratings here. It comes as no surprise then, that a majority of expats in Taiwan (64%) plan to stay there longer than three years; with more than half of these (36% in total) even considering staying there forever. Taiwan performs worst in the Ease of Settling In Index, although it still comes in a respectable tenth. Here, its first place in the Friendliness subcategory is evened out by much lower results in the Language subcategory, where it only comes in 45th. Nine in ten expats give the friendliness of local residents towards foreigners a positive rating, compared to only 65% worldwide. However, the language barrier does pose some problems. Only 23% overall agree that learning the local language is easy (global 37%) and about one-third (32%) are of the opinion that living in Taiwan without learning at least some of the local tongue is problematic. It seems that many expats anticipated this challenge, with 35% naming the language barrier as a possible disadvantage they thought about before the move. Taiwan is the only country in the top three with enough expats living abroad with their dependent children for it to feature in the Family Life Index, coming in 8th out of 45 countries. In fact, 43% of the respondents there have dependent children living with them, over twice the global average of 21%. It does best in terms of the friendly attitude towards families with children, with 58% rating this as very good (39% worldwide). However, for both childcare and education, only 3% of expat parents completely agree that these are easy to afford. Source:www.internations.org

The Best & Worst Places for Ex...

Top Hospitals in the World

2016-10-26

In health care, like in many things, quality is important. Whether it’s the education of the physicians, the competency of the specialists, or the compassion of the nurses, every detail can make the difference in patient outcomes. While the work of all health care workers is greatly appreciated, there are some facilities which on the whole, can be rated above others in terms of being of the finest caliber. Here, we take a look at the top 15 hospitals in the world, taking into account specialization quality, patient outcomes, research, and care philosophy. 15. Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan TaipeiStarting off our list of the top hospitals in the world is the Taipei Veterans General Hospital, located in Taipei City. Founded in 1958 and funded as well as run by the Veteran’s Administration of Taipei, this 3,000 bed facility as well as two sister facilities are used as teaching hospitals and provide state of the art health care to their patients. With consistently high care quality and a remarkably good prognostic track record, this hospital can also claim the first use of the Gamma Knife treatment and first Neurological department within the country, as well as their infectious disease department being the first to isolate the HIV/AIDS virus in Asia.

Top Hospitals in the World

The Best & Worst Places for Expats in 2016

2016-08-31

Taiwan: Out with the Old, in with the New The newcomer Taiwan has ousted two-time champion Ecuador to win this year’s survey. In addition to claiming 1st place out of 67 countries in the overall ranking, it is in the top ten for every individual index! Taiwan holds first place in the Quality of Life and Personal Finance Indices, impressing with the quality and affordability of its healthcare and the enviable financial situation of expats living there. The Asian Tiger scores second place in the Working Abroad Index. Over one-third of expats in Taiwan (34%) are completely satisfied with their jobs, more than double the global average of 16%. Expats are similarly enthusiastic about their work-life balance (30%) and job security (34%). This small island country also holds second place for overall satisfaction with life abroad, with 93% voicing their general contentment. Only Spain has higher ratings here. It comes as no surprise then, that a majority of expats in Taiwan (64%) plan to stay there longer than three years; with more than half of these (36% in total) even considering staying there forever. Taiwan performs worst in the Ease of Settling In Index, although it still comes in a respectable tenth. Here, its first place in the Friendliness subcategory is evened out by much lower results in the Language subcategory, where it only comes in 45th. Nine in ten expats give the friendliness of local residents towards foreigners a positive rating, compared to only 65% worldwide. However, the language barrier does pose some problems. Only 23% overall agree that learning the local language is easy (global 37%) and about one-third (32%) are of the opinion that living in Taiwan without learning at least some of the local tongue is problematic. It seems that many expats anticipated this challenge, with 35% naming the language barrier as a possible disadvantage they thought about before the move. Taiwan is the only country in the top three with enough expats living abroad with their dependent children for it to feature in the Family Life Index, coming in 8th out of 45 countries. In fact, 43% of the respondents there have dependent children living with them, over twice the global average of 21%. It does best in terms of the friendly attitude towards families with children, with 58% rating this as very good (39% worldwide). However, for both childcare and education, only 3% of expat parents completely agree that these are easy to afford. Malta: Fun in the Sun Malta, a newcomer in last year’s survey, has moved up one spot to claim second place, thus pushing Mexico, last year’s second-place winner, off the podium completely, but only down to fourth place. Similar to Taiwan, Malta is also in the top ten for every index that factors into the overall ranking. This Mediterranean country performs best in the Ease of Settling In Index, coming in fourth place. It is first in terms of settling down, getting used to the local culture, and making new friends. Over four in ten expats (41%) say it is very easy to settle down in Malta, well over twice the global average of 16%. Malta fell from first place to fifth this year in the Working Abroad Index. It seems that expats working there are not as pleased with their work-life balance as they were in 2015, with only 22% completely satisfied (vs. 27% in 2015), which is still slightly above the global average of 17%. This is despite, or perhaps due to, the fact that 28% are part-time workers. In the Personal Finance Index, Malta has made a quite significant jump, from 42nd to 6th place. One-quarter of respondents even quote complete satisfaction with their financial situation (global 15%). This is despite the fact that one-third of working expats say their income is generally lower than back home. Malta holds sixth place in the Quality of Life Index, with exceptional ratings for the climate and weather. Three-quarters of expats say they couldn’t be more pleased with it, and not a single respondent has something negative to say! With such glowing results, it’s perhaps no surprise that almost half the expats in Malta are planning to stay forever (49%), significantly higher than the global average of 31%. Ecuador: Struggling Economy, Sinking Ratings After two years at first place, Ecuador has lost its crown. Nevertheless, it has still retained a spot on the podium with its third place in 2016. It saw losses in each index, some more striking than others. Ecuador lost the most ground in the Working Abroad Index. In 2014 it ranked 5th out of 61 and in 2015 it held 7th out of 64, but this year it comes in at a very mediocre 30th out of 67 countries. This is mostly due to its dismal finish in the Job Security subcategory, where it comes in 50th place (it was 22nd in 2015). Overall, only half of expats in Ecuador are satisfied with their level of job security, just under the global average of 56%. Even worse, only 6%, about one-third of the global average of 17%, believe the state of Ecuador’s economy to be very good. As oil is Ecuador’s key export, its low price has had adverse effects on the economy. While occurring after the survey was conducted, the magnitude-7.8 earthquake that struck in April 2016 has not helped matters since. In the Personal Finance Index, Ecuador saw a slight drop from first place in 2014 and 2015 to third place in 2016. Despite the dreary state of the economy, 27% of expats there are very happy with their financial situation, almost double the global average of 15%. This may be because 41% of survey respondents in Ecuador are retirees and may not be relying on Ecuador’s economy for their income. This assumption is bolstered by the fact that only 13% of retirees were living in Ecuador prior to their retirement. The Quality of Life Index is another area where Ecuador lost ground this year, with a drop to 18th place from 2nd. Only 22% of this year’s respondents feel very safe in Ecuador (38% worldwide) and an average percentage (69% vs. 63% globally) are satisfied with the transport infrastructure. The country continues to rank well for the quality (30%) and affordability of healthcare (31%), however, with around three in ten considering both factors excellent against global rates of 23% and 21%. Ecuador’s eighth place in the Ease of Settling In Index helps its overall ranking, as does its third place for how satisfied expats are with life abroad in general there. One-quarter couldn’t be happier, compared to only 15% globally who feel the same about life in their host country. The Bottom Three: No Surprises Here The three countries at the end of the list in 2016 have remained stable: Kuwait, Greece, and Nigeria. Kuwait has remained steadily at the bottom for three years running. It even managed to go down in each index this year, most notably in the Working Abroad and Personal Finance Indices. Greece also came in second to last in 2015 while in 2014 it held the third to last spot. It did better in the Ease of Settling In Index this year (up to 27th from 41st) but worse in all the other indices that factor into the overall ranking. It’s now last place for the Working Abroad and Personal Finance Indices and ranks a dismal 43rd out of 45 countries in the Family Life Index. Nigeria also came in third to last in 2015, and in 2014 it was fifth to last. This year it holds last place for the Quality of Life and the Cost of Living Indices. Compared to 2015, it does slightly better in the Ease of Settling In Index this year (from 42nd to 39th place), but much worse in the Personal Finance Index (from 10th to 32nd).

The Best & Worst Places for Ex...

Taiwan ranks first in breast cancer control in Asia: EIU

2016-05-23

2016/05/21 18:29:40 FOCUS TAIWAN Taipei, May 21 (CNA) Taiwan ranks first in breast cancer control among nine regions and countries in Asia, the Health Promotion Administration has said, cited a unit within the Economist Group. The administration said the 2016 breast cancer report published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in March assessed the breast cancer control efforts of Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia and Thailand as compared with Australia. Australia is used as a benchmark because its breast cancer situation is similar to that in much of the Western world. The report said Taiwan came in first with 45 points if measured against Australia, which scored a total of 48 points in six areas -- awareness raising; early detection; treatment quality and access; long-term survivor support and openness to advocacy; palliative care; and data collection. Each category was scored on a 0-8 scale, with eight being the highest. Taiwan scored an eight in every category except for a 7 in "treatment quality and access" and a 6 in "palliative care." Behind Taiwan were Hong Kong with a score of 44 and Singapore and Japan with scores of 43. Taiwan's incidence of breast cancer was the second highest in Asia, at 64.3 people per 100,000, and the five-year survival rate of Taiwan's breast cancer patients was 87 percent, ranking fourth, behind South Korea (91.5 percent), Hong Kong (90 percent) and Japan (89.1 percent), according to the report. Wu Chien-yuan (吳健遠), a section chief of the administration, said breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Taiwan, with an average of 28 women being diagnosed with breast cancer every day. It is also the fourth leading cause of death in women among cancers, averaging five deaths every day. Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞), director general of the Health Promotion Administration, urged women to stay away from risk factors such as cigarettes and alcohol and pursue a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise. (By Chang Ming-hsuan and Lilian Wu) Enditem/ls

Taiwan ranks first in breast c...

Taiwan ranks eighth best country to live as expat

2015-10-19

Focus Taiwan-Taipei, Oct. 18 (CNA) Taiwan ranks eighth among the best countries to live as an expatriate, while Singapore is considered the best place to live and work for expats, according to the 2015 Expat Explorer Survey released by the British banking and financial service group HSBC. The survey, conducted in about 100 countries around the globe, is based on responses from 21,950 expatriates to questions about managing finances, career progression, local culture and quality of life for their children. Combining these factors, Singapore is the best place overall to live and work as an expatriate, followed by New Zealand, Sweden, Bahrain, Germany, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland. An analysis of viewpoints expressed by expatriates in Taiwan shows they have little difficulty settling in, while two thirds enjoy immersing themselves in Taiwan's rich culture. Taiwan does not rank as high as some destinations in terms of financial incentives, but there are other positives, according to the survey. Although less than one third indicated earning prospects are better than at home, a similar number said Taiwan is a good place for career progression. The Expat Explorer survey, now in its eighth year, is commissioned by HSBC Expat and was conducted by third party research company YouGov. between March and May 2015. (By C.C. Huang and Lillian Lin) Enditem/AW

Taiwan ranks eighth best count...

No showers or going outdoors: Why the Chinese put mothers into 'confinement'

2015-08-14

By Tiffany Ap and Shen Lu, CNN Updated 0253 GMT (0953 HKT) August 12, 2015 (CNN)The recent death of a Shanghai woman has put the spotlight on the Chinese traditional custom of "postpartum confinement," a month-long period when new mothers are put on bed rest and advised to keep warm -- even in the heat of summer. The mother, who was following the custom also known as "zuoyuezi," died from heat stroke after wrapping herself in a thick quilt and keeping the air-conditioning switched off despite high summer temperatures, state media reported. A similar tragedy several months ago involved a new mother who refused to move and later died of pulmonary artery thrombosis. 'Sitting the month' Zuoyuezi, literally means "sitting the month." Traditional Chinese medicine purports that women that have just given birth are more susceptible to cold air, so it's not uncommon for mothers to refrain even from washing themselves or their clothing. Mothers are not meant to leave the home and are encouraged to follow a diet of hot soups and avoid so called "cooling" foods. In fact, the Duchess of Cambridge Catherine Middleton sparked a debate on Chinese social media in May when she appeared with her second child publicly wearing light clothing just 10 hours after giving birth. By contrast, when 30-year-old Yang Xue delivered her daughter in a Beijing hospital two days later, she returned home and, following the principles of zuoyuezi, stayed there for more than a month without showering. China's one child policy changes China's one child policy changes 02:07 "It's horrifying to hear that women don't sit the month. I'd rather stick to the tradition," she said. "It was a bit uncomfortable at the beginning but I got used to it later on." Yang's parents and in-laws came to help but she also paid 8,000 yuan (US$1,265) for a "yuesao" -- a nanny dedicated to taking care of the mother and newborn. As a new mother, Yang was served a special meal plan. The yuesao cooked fish soup and pig feet soup for her every day, which was supposed to help her produce more milk. Changing attitudes But there are signs that attitudes are changing as some of the ways confinement is practiced can lead to unhygienic conditions and even become dangerous. For example, in July, a local Chinese newspaper quoted one traditional Chinese medicine doctor who talked about adapting the practice for modern life. The doctor said mothers should still steer clear of all drafts by keeping windows and doors closed but said if need be, they can use air conditioning or a fan, so long as it wasn't aimed directly at them. Not brushing teeth or washing hair however, "has entirely no medical basis," the doctor warned. Some mothers like Du Fei, a Beijing native who lives in Shanghai, have completely abandoned the tradition. Du had her child in June and did everything she was not "meant" to do as a new mother, like taking her baby outdoors the first week after birth. "I just didn't see the point of zuoyuezi," Du said. "I've never thought of childbirth as a big deal. The only thing I didn't do during the initial week was cooking, because I felt weak after childbirth." Du said although most of her friends don't practice traditional Chinese postpartum care, they do hire a yuesao to help around the house. Confinement centers For others, confinement can be a big business opportunity. Hundreds of maternity centers have popped up across China, Hong Kong and Taiwan -- some even offer plush environments and services not unlike a luxury boutique hotel. Gwo Dreyer twice stayed at a maternity center in Taiwan after giving birth to her two kids. She didn't particularly care for traditional Chinese medicine concepts but said she found the Asian approach to postpartum care much more supportive to parents. "I didn't grow up in Asia and my husband is not Asian. We're not that traditional," Dreyer said. "It's a lot of focus on the baby [in the U.S.]. In Asia, not only is it taking care the baby but also the mother," she continued. "Maybe you don't have the right support or maybe your family members don't know how to do it right. It's having adult supervision for the first month, basically from people who take care of not just one child but 50 babies at once," Dreyer said. Such confinement centers can be a huge help, especially in light of the changing Chinese family unit, which no longer sees multiple generations living together under one roof, and with respect to the country's one-child policy, meaning nearly all parents are first-timers. "You might get a midwife to come help you at home as opposed to a center but it's like home-schooling or school. Home school works very well for some people," Dreyer added.

No showers or going outdoors: ...

New medical insurance rule for China tour groups

2015-07-24

CNA July 24, 2015, 12:02 am TWN TAIPEI -- Taiwan's Tourism Bureau announced Wednesday that with effect from Oct. 1, travel agencies will be required to purchase visitor medical insurance for Chinese tour groups to cover unexpected illness, injuries or death. The bureau said it is tightening its regulations because unpaid medical bills racked up by Chinese visitors to Taiwan over the past few years have reached an estimated NT$100 million. Under the new regulations pertaining to travel permits for visitors from mainland China, all tour groups must be covered by visitor medical insurance, at a minimum of NT$500,000 (approximately US$16,000) for injuries or illness and NT$2 million (approximately US$64,800) for death-related expenses. Currently, travel agencies are only required to purchase liability insurance of NT$2 million for each member of their tour groups. Starting in August, travel agencies are likely to add the cost of visitor medical insurance to the cost of booking group tours, according to a travel industry source. The extra insurance costs will amount to about 50 yuan (approximately US$8) per person for Chinese visitors traveling in tour groups, the source said. Independent Chinese tourists should also be included in the new medical insurance rule, as it is likely to benefit not just the visitors but also travel agencies and hospitals, the source said.

New medical insurance rule for...

Top 10 Destination Cities in Asia/Pacific

2015-07-14

The top ten destination cities in Asia/Pacific and their visitor numbers and cross-border spending are summarized in Table 3. Bangkok, ranked second in the world, is the top destination in Asia/Pacific. The Asia/Pacific ranking of the top nine out of ten are unchanged from 2014. But, Osaka moved into tenth, displacing Melbourne. In terms of cross-border spending, Seoul leads in Asia/Pacific with an expected US$15.2 billion, followed by Singapore at US$14.7 billion, Bangkok at US$12.4 billion, Kuala Lumpur at US$12.0 billion, and Taipei at US$9.3 billion. For comparison of destination cities with similar international visitor numbers, Chart 2 shows the five fastest-growing over the 2009-2015 period among the top 20 destination cities in the world. A very different picture emerges in this comparison. Four out of five are in Asia led by Taipei, with the fifth, Istanbul, in Central Europe. These are destination cities that have big enough numbers of international visitors to put them in the top 20 of the world, and yet are still growing at double digits. And for the four Asian cities, their strong growth in visitors has come mostly from the massive increase in outbound travel from China. Extract from: 2015 Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index, Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong and Desmond Choong, Mastercard.

Top 10 Destination Cities in A...

Taipei ranks 16th-best city for travel, MasterCard says

2015-07-14

Staff writer, with CNA Taipei ranks 16th among the 132 cities listed in this year’s MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index, and the capital city is projected to attract 6.55 million international tourists this year, an increase of 2.5 percent from 6.38 million last year. Since 2009, MasterCard has ranked cities in terms of the number of their international overnight visitor arrivals and cross-border spending by these same visitors in the destination cities, and gives visitor and passenger growth forecasts, based on data analysis of the UN and the IMF. According to the MasterCard study, in the Asia-Pacific region, in terms of the number of international overnight visitor arrivals last year, Taipei ranked 11th in the world and sixth in the Asia-Pacific region. Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and Hong Kong welcomed more international tourists than Taipei did. In terms of international tourist spending last year, Taipei ranked 11th in the world and fifth in the Asia-Pacific region. Last year, international tourists in Taipei spent US$9.28 billion, down 2.3 percent compared with US$9.5 billion in 2013. International visitors to Asia spent more in Seoul, Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Taiwan as a whole has been a fast-growing tourist destination over the past five years. The top 10 cities in this year’s MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index are London, Bangkok, Paris, Dubai, Istanbul, New York, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and Hong Kong.

Taipei ranks 16th-best city fo...
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