Welcome signs in Mandarin may soon greet Chinese visitors travelling through Tasmania’s east coast tourism hotspots.
Break O’Day Council wants to put out the welcome mat to the booming Chinese tourism sector with traditional welcome and farewell town signs in Mandarin.
Tourism is a huge economic driver in the municipality which contains areas like the world-renowned Bay of Fires conservation area.
Tasmania experienced a boom in Chinese tourists since the country’s president visited in 2014.
The population of 6,500 doubles during the summer season but Asian tourists visit the area year-round.
“A huge population of Chinese tourists seem to be here 12 months of the year,” Mayor Mick Tucker said.
Cr Tucker said he believed his municipality may be the first in Australia to adopt the idea.
He said the cost of changing the signs was small compared to the benefits it would bring.
“We like to think outside the square here and I think it will be paid back in spades,” he said.
“We don’t think there’s anyone else doing it that we know of.
“To make sure when they come from the other side of the world, just something they can read in their own language [is] a nice gesture.”
Council officers will table a report on the proposal at a council meeting in December.
More can be done, tourism body says
In May a study found some Chinese visitors were less than impressed with their Tasmanian experience.
Groups like Tourism Australia have been urging businesses and government authorities to be more “China-ready”.
Tourism Australia spokesman Leo Seaton said adapting signs was just one measure that could win over Chinese tourists.
He urged businesses and government authorities to go to greater lengths to welcome them.
“In the case of hotels having Mandarin speaking staff on the front desk, Chinese food options and even Chinese channels on the TV,” he said.
“For airports it might be Mandarin signage for the first point of entry, very simple measures and very symbolic.”