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Tasmania Officials Welcome Chinese President's Upcoming Visit
   2014-11-14 21:13:05    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Zhangshuai

An undated photo shows the street scene of Hobart, capital city of the state of Tasmania, Australia. [Photo: Imagine China]


The Chinese President will visit Tasmania during his state visit to Australia, after his attendance at the G20 leaders meeting in Brisbane. Tasmanian officials say the visit is a once-in-a-generation opportunity, creating opportunities for growth and securing international media exposure for Tasmania.

Our Australian correspondent Wang Xiao has more.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will spend a day in Tasmania. Government and business leaders, along with local Chinese communities, are ramping up preparations for the visit.

Minister for State Growth Matthew Groom says president Xi's visit will be an unquantifiable in its impact, and will further strengthen the economic and cultural ties between China and Tasmania.

"I think it's an exciting opportunity for Tasmania to further develop our friendship and our trade links with China. We are having trade relations and people to people engagement. I think that's very important."

Tasmania has a long connection with China. More than 30 years ago, Doug Lowe was the first Tasmanian Premier to visit China, creating an important sister-state relationship with Fujian Province. Years later, Premier Jim Bacon visited China, meeting with the then governor of Fujian province, Mr Xi Jinping.

In December 2012, then-premier Lara Giddings invited Xi Jinping to visit Tasmania,just a month after he became president. Former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard visited China early last year, talking with President Xi about Tasmania. She said the president displayed an extensive knowledge of Tasmania.

Right now China is Tasmania's largest trading partner, with merchandise and exports of $610 million, particularly in terms of high quality produce, dairy and wine. The Minister for State Growth says the impact of the visit will be unprecedented across all sectors of the Tasmanian community and economy, especially in tourism and education.

"China represents a very significant part of our international visitors to Tasmania, so last year represented 12.5% and that was an increase of 61% from the previous year. So it's growing very significantly. At the moment, China represents a very significant percentage of our international students. We see the potential to double that international students in the university of Tasmania."

With its ideal location as a staging post for Antarctic voyagers, Hobart is not only the hub of Australia's Antarctic program but is home to a range of national and international Antarctic and Southern Ocean organizations and is a world-class centre for Antarctic and Southern Ocean education and research. Chinese Ship Xue Long has resupplied and refilled in Hobart several times.

Ron Christie, Deputy Load Mayor of the city of Hobart, welcomes President Xi's visit. He says the city is ready.

"Hobart is ready for the visit, but we still have a lot to do. Like the airport we need to have more mandarin writing there to welcome people. Although there has been a lot of teaching, the tourist bureau teaching our traders about Chinese culture."

For CRI, I'm Wang Xiao from Hobart.

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