China set to join forces with the Whit­sun­days

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Inge Hansen

THE Hon­ourable Con­sul-Gen­eral of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China, Dr Zhao Yongchen, touched down in the Whit­sun­days for the first time this week.

His visit on Tues­day was part of a bid to boost tourism and ex­tend the Chi­nese mar­ket to the re­gion.

Joined by Con­sul Jiang and Con­sul Wang, Dr Zhao took part in a for­mal meet­ing with Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil, where op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­crease in­ter­na­tional as­sets and open pas­sen­ger and freight op­por­tu­ni­ties with China were dis­cussed.

Dr Zhao said he was im­pressed by the eco­log­i­cal preser­va­tion in the re­gion, which was pleas­ant for res­i­dents, prop­erty de­vel­op­ment and hol­i­day­ing.

“As you can see, there is a grow­ing num­ber of Chi­nese mid­dle class fam­i­lies and around 500 mil­lion peo­ple be­long to that group,” he said.

“Chi­nese peo­ple have made 120 mil­lion out­bound trav­els and if you (in the Whit­sun­days) can at­tract only 10% of all the out­bound trav­els by Chi­nese, that’s nearly 12 mil­lion (peo­ple).”

Mayor An­drew Will­cox said our dams, in­fra­struc­ture, bet­ter fa­cil­i­ties and the ex­pan­sion of the air­ports were some of the ma­jor top­ics dis­cussed.

“We have a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties in the Whit­sun­days and we look for­ward to work­ing with the Chi­nese Con­sul-Gen­eral, Ful­lShare, and all the peo­ple who have shown in­ter­est in our re­gion al­ready,” he said.

“We be­lieve that there’s go­ing to be a lot more in­ter­est in our re­gion be­cause af­ter all, it’s beau­ti­ful.”

Dr Zhao and his en­tourage got to ex­pe­ri­ence some of the fa­mous Whit­sun­day hos­pi­tal­ity at a morn­ing tea hosted by Ful­lShare and Mi­rage Whit­sun­days, which also gave coun­cil­lors and tourism op­er­a­tors the chance to net­work with the high pro­file en­ti­ties.

Tourism Whit­sun­days CEO Craig Turner said it was fan­tas­tic to have some­one from an­other re­gion with the vi­sion and the ca­pac­ity to make our built as­sets greater.

“With the China mar­ket and the po­ten­tial that ex­ists there, hav­ing a part­ner­ship with those within the mar­ket is go­ing to help us get lever­age and in­crease vis­i­ta­tion and yield for our re­gion,” he said.

Dr Zhao said he looked for­ward to an in­creased pres­ence and more Chi­nese in­vest­ments in tourism and hol­i­day spend in our re­gion.

“It is my hope that bet­ter fa­cil­i­ties and ac­com­mo­da­tion and busi­ness cli­mates can be cre­ated for the po­ten­tial Chi­nese in­vest­ment,” he said.

“My wish is that you can go to China look­ing for part­ners, your coun­ter­parts and your peers for busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“I’m sure that you will be im­mersed in very spe­cial Chi­nese tra­di­tions and cul­ture and also you will find your­self among many op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

“If you can at­tract only 10% of all the out­bound trav­els by Chi­nese, that’s nearly 12 mil­lion (peo­ple)”

DIS­CUS­SION TIME: Con­sul Jiang, Dr Zhao Yongchen and Con­sul Wang from the Peo­ple's Repub­lic of China, dis­cussing the fu­ture of Whit­sun­day tourism for Chi­nese tourists.

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