Senin, 01 September 2014

Chinese president Xi Jinping *considering visit to Tasmania* after G20 (ABC)

Tasmania is busily preparing for the possible visit of the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.

Mr Xi has signaled he may head south to Hobart after attending the G20 summit in Brisbane in November.

The president would bring hundreds of staff, security and business delegates with him.

He would only be on the ground for a few hours but Lord Mayor Damon Thomas said the impact of a visit from Mr Xi would be huge for Tasmania.

"This is bigger than the US president if you look at our direct activity at the present time," he said.

Tasmania recorded a 50 per cent jump in Chinese arrivals in the 12 months to March this year, with almost 20,000 Chinese tourists visiting the state.

The Government has even published a booklet urging tourism operators to get "China ready".

The expected media coverage of such a visit also has state tourism officials excited.

Luke Martin from the Tourism Industry Council said images of the president in Tasmania being beamed to the world's most populous country would be priceless for the industry.

"Just getting him into the state and what he brings with him, the media, the focus and the billion eyeballs that will be following his every move," he said.

Tasmanian Chinese community elated

Daniel Chan from the Chinese Community Association said it was not only the tourism industry that was excited.

Mr Chan met China's president earlier this year.

"The president is in the middle and the delegation of 500 from all over the world and luckily I am one of them," he said.

He will work with the State Government's new China Investment and Trade Unit to come up with a week of business and cultural activities to tie in with the visit.

"We have to wait for the Government to release the detail and then we will work really close together," he said.

Mr Chan saw huge opportunities, not only in tourism, but also business and education.

"There will be a 200 [strong] delegation coming from China and 27 business organisations," he said.

But a presidential visit also has its challenges.

Hotels will be stretched and it is understood the Government has already been reserving rooms.

"The Government's doing the right thing and reserving as many rooms as they can. It's a good thing," said Mr Martin.

The Lord Mayor said the Government may still have to get creative to find enough accomodation.

"I believe the Government might even look at the use of a cruise ship for overflow," he said.

The logistics would restrict the visit to Hobart and surrounds but tourism officials hope that if he comes, Mr Xi will see and taste as much as possible of what the island offers.

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