The 23rd World Orchid Conference was scheduled last year, but due to
the impact of COVID-19, the Taichung City Government this year launched the "2021 Virtual WOC Taichung." Today's (the 23rd) grand opening was organized and from tomorrow, the event will be made available for the public to gain virtual sensational experience of orchid blossoms. Mayor Lu Shiow-Yen said the public is welcome to log on the website (https://www.woc23.com/ ) to appreciate the beauty of Taiwan orchids.
Today's opening ceremony was held grandly at Nunle Hall of Waipu Flora Expo Area and attended by Mayor Lu Shiow-Yen, Minister of the Council of Agriculture (COA) , Chen Chi-Chung, Vice President of the Legislative Yuan, Tsai Chi-Chang, President of the Taiwan Orchid Growers Association(TOGA), Chen Cheng-Chung to declare the opening of "the 2021 Virtual WOC Taichung."
According to Mayor Lu, the Taichung City Government is privileged to organize the 23rd WOC although it was not easy during the COVID-19 pandemic. She was very much thankful for the great fund support from Minister Chen of COA as well as help from Vice President Tsai. She was also thankful to President Chen and his team who have been working very hard to ship, design and plan the event and organize it online. It was a tremendous challenge as it is the first of its kinds but the TOGA made it a very successful event. She also welcomed everyone to attend this virtual event.
Minister Chen of COA pointed out that for the orchid industry, this event can be compared to the Olympic Games. By incorporating with abundant resources of the 2018 Taichung World Flora Exposition, Taiwan won the bid to host the 23rd WOC. Taiwan is one of the world's most important orchid production sites and many indigenous species of orchids come from Taiwan. Through the WOC, Taiwan's orchids can be introduced to more people in the world. Vice President Tsai of the Legislative Yuan thanked the Taichung City Government for hosting the WOC with great efforts and he was touched to see the proud combination of virtual and reality creativity even during the pandemic!
President Chen of the TOGA said the World Orchid Conference (WOC)is a big event that combines the conference and orchid show held every three years by cities around the world. Taiwan began its bid to host TOGA since 2005 and in 2014, Taiwan finally was successful to host the 23rd WOC which was scheduled originally in 2020 under the theme of "the WOC + Flora Expo in Taichung" at Waipu Taichung Flora Expo Area but due to the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was postponed to this year. In order to allow more people to participate in the event, Taiwan's soft strength in technology was utilized in the format of online competition and judging, digital exhibition and online meeting to let the "2021 Virtual WOC" get rid of traditional space and time limits. He hoped that the beauty of Taiwan's orchids can be presented and appreciated by people around the world in the digital format and bring the world more positive power during the time of the severe pandemic.
The Agriculture Bureau said due to the pandemic, this exhibition was only open for a small number of professionals, industrial groups and teaching faculty of agriculture and landscape design-related departments. Hence, the newest "5G Cloud Virtual Reality XR Online Interactive Conference and Exhibition Platform" was introduced for 3D Matterport full-space scanning and modeling to present the whole event. Although general public cannot come to the event in person, they can still enjoy the 8K high resolution images online.
The Bureau said that this was the first time the series events introduced the "online judging" mode and through the 360-degree orchid filming, species in the orchid competition were digitalized to compete. This technology was expected to be used for online business model to create diverse development of the orchid industry. In terms of "digital exhibition," the digital physical modeling faithfully presented the exhibition contents by incorporating various sensual modes for the viewers online. The "online meeting" utilized film presentations and live streaming to convey knowledge and exchange without the impact of the pandemic and time difference.
Additionally, the Bureau said although due to the pandemic, this event cannot be open to all visitors, yet to maximize the effectiveness, besides presentations with the newest digital technologies, from April 26th, orchid landscaping inside the hall will be showcased at important transportation sites and some government agencies. Through the format of "Mobile Orchid Exhibition," more people in Taiwan are able to get closer to beautiful orchids.