“Giant Pandas begin a giant trek around Australia”
On 26 April 2017, a fleet of ten giant panda themed campervans began an epic journey which will see them circumnavigate the Australian mainland promoting China as a tourist destination. Over seven weeks the fleet of “pandavans” will cover more 30,000 kilometres around the entire Australian coastline from North Queensland to Darwin and inland from Adelaide, past Alice Springs across Central Australia and through outback Far North Queensland to Townsville.
“This is a first for China Tourism anywhere in the world,” says Mr. Luo Weijian, Director of the China National Tourist Office. “the Giant Panda are the national treasures of China and also the symbol of friendship.”
“Of the more than one million Chinese visitors to Australia each year, most will visit cities and popular tourist destinations but few will have the chance to experience life right throughout the continent. So the Panda Explorer fulfils two roles, taking China to hundreds of towns and regional communities and giving Chinese people an insight into the diverse landscapes and cultures of Australia.”
CNTO is trying hard to make one of the most significant stops in South Australia with Adelaide Zoo, home to Australia’s only giant pandas Wang Wang and Fu Ni.
The Panda Explorer Trek was launched today in Sydney by Mr. Luo and leading China-Australia tourism stakeholders including the General Managers of key Chinese airlines, Air China, China Eastern, Hainan Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines, leading tour operators and Tourism Australia Chairman represent Tony South.
The trek is being staged as part of 2017 China-Australia Year of Tourism, a year-long promotion of tourism cooperation between Australia and China and the substantial implementation of joint initiatives by both governments to further improve tourism exchange and cooperation.
At hundreds of stops along the way the Panda Explorers will act as travelling information booths on China and its many wonders, as well as handing out panda-themed giveaways. Along the route, the Panda Explorers will be capturing images and video from across Australia to be uploaded across multiple Chinese online and social media platforms.
Says Mr. Luo, “Our media partners in China will offer great exposure to Australia, in total we expect well over one hundred million Chinese people to see images and read great stories from the Panda Explorer Trek.
“But this trek is just as much about promoting Chinese tourism and the many incredible experiences China has to offer Australian tourists, from spectacular mountains and rivers, to ancient wonders and the finest cuisine from the many rich and diverse regions of China; and our modern and vibrant cities.”
There are currently direct flights between Australia and 14 mainland Chinese cities encompassing major hubs such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. In recent years a number of other routes have been added, opening up tourist destinations such as Xi’an, home to the Terracotta Warriors, and Sichuan province, home to China’s great panda sanctuaries and world famous for its spicy food.
“Chinese airlines have evolved into truly world class carriers and the capacity they have on Australian routes provides opportunities from some great deals for Australian tourists,” says Mr. Luo. “Two years ago Australia celebrated its one millionth Chinese visitor in a calendar year, we are now seeing nearly 673,000 Australians travelling to China last year and by opening up many more tourist destinations, that is a number which should continue to grow.”
Among other China Australia Year of Tourism activities, the most prominent highlight of CAYOT2017 will be the 1000 Australian tourists to be hosted at an official welcoming ceremony in Xi’an China on September 14th, 2017. Tour groups comprising of one thousand Australians will visit the ancient Chinese capital of Xi’an where a special Tang Dynasty Grand Ceremony will be staged exclusively for Australian visitors. In the past such ceremonies had only been reserved for visiting dignitaries and world leaders, among them former US President, Bill Clinton and India Premier Narendra Modi.
Prior to this ceremony, those Australian visitors will be treated to a welcoming reception. This Xi’an tour is being organised by the China National Tourist Office in conjunction with nine Australian-based tour operators, 7 of them are in sydney: Wendy Wu Tours, Helen Wong Tours, China Best Tours, China Travel Service (Australia), Insider Journeys, Scenic Tours, LaCity Travel, and 2 of them are from Melbourne, Travman Tours and PTT Travel.
In association with the Lego Group, the China National Tourist Office will take part in the first ever Lego Wonders of China Exhibition to be staged in the Southern Hemisphere. With details to be finalised, the exhibition will tour both Sydney and Melbourne during the September school holiday period.