China Week celebrates soaring numbers of Chinese visitors

17 Sep 2018

The spectacular sights, sounds and tastes of the Middle Kingdom return to Hamilton's Beaumont Street later this month following a dramatic increase in Chinese visitor numbers thanks to Alibaba founder Jack Ma's gift to the city and other recently established links.

Annual average overnight visits by Chinese nationals to Newcastle rose 113 per cent in the 12 months to September 2017.

This followed the Chinese billionaire's $26.4 million bestowal to the University of Newcastle, which placed the city in the spotlight of the world's most populous nation earlier in the year.

China Week marketing specialist Bec Dujin and Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes"For the fifth straight year, City of Newcastle is supporting China Week," Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

"To keep the momentum going, we've allocated $5,000 through our Events Sponsorship program to support the street festival on Sunday 23 September, as well as $5,000 to the Business Forum on the Friday before.

"We realise Newcastle's future success as an innovation and tourism hub is inextricably linked to the Asia-Pacific region, and it seems the future is very bright on that front.

"Arrivals to Australia increased by 12 per cent last year but stats on the growth in overnight visits to the city by Chinese nationals are 10 times that. The Jack Ma factor may be a big part, just as Martin Lee's ownership of the Jets and their successes have helped raised Newcastle's profile.

"But many components influence these numbers, not the least being the university, together with the Newcastle lifestyle appeal."

The three-year annual average for overnight visits by Chinese to Newcastle climbed to 10,404 in 2017, up from 4,879 the previous, making China the city's third largest international market behind the UK and US.

Chinese student numbers at UON rose from 2,218 in 2015 to 2,560 in 2018, prompting more families and friends to visit.

The numbers could be greater when compiled for the past 12 months, making this year's fifth annual China Cultural Street Festival a great celebration of the growing links between the two countries.

Unique offerings in Newcastle and the Hunter, a more targeted tourism strategy helped by inner-city revitalisation and growing popularity of the Hunter Valley vineyards are also thought have contributed to the uptick in visits.

China Week line up:

  • Friday 21 September - The China Business Forum at UON's NewSpace will bring together speakers from Alibaba Australia and New Zealand, AsiaLink, Invest Hong Kong, Port of Newcastle, Westpac Bank and University of Newcastle to explore how innovation has transformed global economic growth markets. The forum will focus on innovation, entrepreneurship and provide a platform for engagement between community, academia, business, government and entrepreneurs from sectors interested in collaborating with Chinese companies and gaining market access.
  • Saturday 22 September - Hamilton's Gregson Park will host a night food market offering Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean and Malaysian fare, as well as music from an international DJ, a fire show and roving moon and stars-themed entertainment.
  • Sunday 23 September - Dragon and lion dancers, acrobatic performers on stilts and a rare performance by the Beijing Dance Academy will light up the Beaumont street festival, where onlookers will be able to snap a selfie with a panda mascot or giant inflatable dragon (pictured) and mooncake.

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