The Hello Kitty dreamland at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. (Photo/Kao Hsing-yu)
Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport has been selected by the Amadeus travel website as one of the world's 10 most traveler-friendly airports, thanks to its exclusive "Hello Kitty" children's play area in the gate area.
"The airport has an entire gate area designed with a Hello Kitty motif, from the chairs and wall decorations to children's play area and a shop," Amadeus said in its monthly newsletter, released Oct. 5.
The global travel data provider said layovers between flights are often unavoidable as airline cutbacks mean fewer nonstop flights. Therefore, many modern airports offer amenities and odd attractions designed to make layovers more pleasant, it said.
Citing a 2011 survey by ORC International, Amadeus said that 44% of interviewed travelers said they would enjoy taking in a history, science or cultural exhibit at airports, while 16% said they would like a massage or spa during an airport layover.
Another 12% found respite in having a playground for their children, the travel website said, noting that shopping, dining and internet surfing also scored high on the list.
The Hello Kitty dreamland at the Taoyuan International Airport is the only one of its kind in the world, according to the airport operator. It comprises four sections — the Pinky Kitty departure lounge, the Sanrio gift shop, the Hello Kitty playground and the Bay Kitty nursery room.
Other airports on the Amadeus list of the world's 10 most traveler- friendly airports are Incheon International Airport in South Korea, Changi International Airport in Singapore, Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, Portland International Airport, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, Vancouver International Airport and Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok Airport.