By VTIC Chief Executive Dianne Smith
Welcome to the Year of the Horse! As I write, Chinese communities across the state will be applying the final touches to New Year celebrations. It is also a significant time of year for the tourism industry as China is Australia’s largest trading partner and our most valuable inbound visitor market.
As an industry, we aspire to create a stronger connection with the Lunar New Year festival across Victoria. VTIC will focus on this effort in coming years as there is a super opportunity to build on the activities traditionally undertaken within our Chinese communities.
The challenge for industry is two-fold; to continue to create and deliver engaging events and attractions for the growing number of Chinese visitors to Victoria (more than 327,000 in the past 12 months), and to ensure we are culturally-aware and appropriate. We can still improve our overall level of Chinese-friendliness at the grassroots level. To learn more about cultural awareness training, see the Hot topics section of this e-news.
A new tourism project supported by the City of Melbourne will create interest at Docklands during the Lunar New Year celebrations – the inaugural installation of a 100-metre illuminated dragon.
The Docklands Dragon will light up every evening from 6pm on 30 January until 16 February, and accompanying activities will include entertainment from 6:30-7:30pm and merchant stalls from 6-10pm.
The dragon will complement the activities already delivered in the Little Bourke Street Chinatown precinct – the traditional heart of Chinese culture in the CBD.
Congratulations also to Sovereign Hill for the exciting day of Chinese New Year activities it has planned for Sunday 9 February; click here for details.
In other industry developments, we’re delighted to herald the go-ahead for Segway tours on shared paths in Victoria. Well done to our policy team who have done a great job advocating for this change.
I’m also pleased to reiterate VTIC’s support of the Melbourne Star. It’s not often that such a major investment into Victoria’s visitor offering is announced.
Finally, congratulations to John O’Sullivan, who was announced this week as the new Managing Director of Tourism Australia. John has a strong events background and we look forward to working with him. He joins Tourism Australia from Fox Sports and has previously held positions at Events Queensland and Football Federation Australia.
Here’s to a great start to 2014!