By Ken Kronheim
(January 23, 2013) – On November 15th, 2012, Mrs. Fang Oliver, Sunny Isles Beach Ambassador to Asia, World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce Director and President, Miami Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce, delivered Hengchun City Mayor Yeh’s Letter of Intent and Mrs. Oliver’s Asia Sister City progress report to Commissioners at the Sunny Isles Beach Commission Meeting. More than 250 international business owners, developers, and concerned citizens joined Republic of Taiwan Director General Ray Mou of Miami Taipei Economic Cultural Office with previous Presidents of Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce of Miami and Sunny Isles Beach Mayor Edelcup for the meeting.
Hengchun, Taiwan is where the popular new film “Life of Pi” was filmed on its beautiful beaches. This exotic tourist city is the home of white sand beaches and the entrance to mountains of Kenting National Park that welcome over six million tourists annually. In 2008 the top grossing film in Taiwan’s film history, Cape No. 7 also featured Hengchun.
On Mrs. Oliver’s recent visit to Hengchun, Taiwan officials were impressed with the Sunny Isles Beach white sand beach, perfectly located between Fort Lauderdale and Miami International Airport. The delegation from Taiwan are enthusiastic to explore Trump Towers, the future Porsche Design Condo and Acqualina Spa Resort and Mansions where international residents offer up to $50 million per residential unit to own primary and luxury homes along the 2.5 mile beach.
Hengchun officials welcome educational exchange and programs between the cities including the Norman S. Edelcup/SIB A plus K-8 school and nearby Florida International University. Cultural exchanges include continued sponsorship of Dragonboat Race Festival and showcasing community amenities including a planned four acre Gateway Park, Historic Pier Park, fine dining restaurants and shopping centers along Collins Ave.
At the meeting, Mrs. Oliver introduced Hengchun to the commission and explained the cities similarities. Like Sunny Isles Beach, Hengchun has a beautiful name, which means “eternal spring” in Chinese. Both are internationally well known as great tourism and beach destinations. Hengchun is one of the most phenomenal and popular beach towns in Asia, welcoming over 7 million visitors in 2011. The town can be reached from Taipei International Airport by high speed train or a scenic four hour drive. Hengchun has a population of 31,000 and an area of 53-square-miles.
Effective November 1st, 2012, Taiwan became one of few countries in Asia to have a visa waiver program to visit the United States for up to 90 days. Hengchun in Pingtun County has large properties with potential for development of a southern international airport and high end oceanfront development along the pristine undeveloped coastline. Mayor Yeh welcomes the opportunity to discuss world-class commerce ideas exchanged with Sunny Isles Beach and Miami developers to create mutual advantages.
At the meeting that evening, Mrs. Oliver expressed her gratitude to Mayor Norman Edelcup, frequent Asia visitor Vice Mayor Lewis Thaler, and commissioners for their constant support and assistance. Working on this project over 18 months, Mrs. Oliver said at times she did not see the light at the end of the tunnel, but city official’s support gave her strength to continue the diligent work.
Mayor Edelcup congratulated Mrs. Oliver’s tireless efforts and directed city officials to work closely for a planned signing ceremony in April, 2013. Director General Mou expressed appreciation for Fang Oliver’s unselfish enthusiasm and diplomatic competence to bring two diverse cultures together. Mr. Mou urges all Asian and Asian American leaders to work together ensuring a long term success for tourism, cultural and educational exchange.To be included for updates and notification of Asian events you may email to SunnyIslesFl@aol.com.