TOURISM: BNBT general manager Katherine Reid is keen to strengthen ties with Asia.
TOURISM: BNBT general manager Katherine Reid is keen to strengthen ties with Asia. Mike Knott BUN030418WINTERFEAST7

AMBITIOUS PLAN: Bringing Asian tourists to Bundy

STRENGTHENING the region's ties with Asia is part of an ambitious one-year plan that could change the face of our tourism industry.

Figures released late last year by Tourism Research Australia showed tourists from the United Kingdom and Germany made up the majority of international visitors to the region.

But now Bundaberg operators will turn their attention to Asia, capitalising on the region's close ties with sister city Nanning.

Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism and Bundaberg Regional Council have embarked on Project Asia - an initiative that will develop the cultural capabilities of local tourism operators to make the most of a surge in visitors from China and other Asian markets.

The project is the first of its kind and its objective is to develop an Asia-ready tourism strategy for Bundy by identifying specific target market needs.

The focus on Asia is three-prong: it's building on Bundaberg's strong 20-year association with Nanning; it's making the most of a rapid surge of visitors to Queensland from Asia; and it's partnering the region's tourism offerings with the wants and needs of Asian visitors, including a new wave of Chinese millennials.

"Over the last decade, China has generated double-digit growth per annum and is now Queensland's largest international visitor market,” BNBT general manager Katherine Reid said.

"With the Southern Great Barrier Reef just off our shores presenting a bucket-list activity for many Chinese travellers, we are seeing organic growth in the Eastern Hemisphere markets in Bundaberg.

"Project Asia is about bringing our industry together to talk about how we're servicing these visitors and develop some clear strategies for both delivering tailor-made experiences, growing our region's cultural capabilities, and increasing this market for the benefit of our regional visitor economy.”

Sister city committee chair Ross Sommerfeld.
Sister city committee chair Ross Sommerfeld.

Council sister city committee chairman Ross Sommerfeld said building cultural and economic exchanges between Bundaberg and Nanning was a key focus of the sister city program.

"As our economic ties with China grow stronger, there will be more opportunities to boost tourism numbers to our region,” Cr Sommerfeld said.

"We have liaised with Nanning tourism delegates who have shown keen interest in promoting our region to their home market.

"Project Asia is a terrific prospect for our local business community to engage with the boundless opportunities the Asian market can provide.”

Businesses are invited to participate in the project, which will begin with an industry workshop on May 16 from 10.30am-3.30pm.

Register at www.bundaberg region.org/corporate/work shops.



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