China Delegation Visit

11 November 2017 - Media release

A delegation from Campaspe Shire has recently returned from a visit to China, as part of a Sister City visit which coincided with the 60th anniversary celebrations for Shangri-La City and the 10-year anniversary of the Sister City Friendship Agreement.

The delegation included Cr Neil Pankhurst, Cr Leigh Wilson, Chief Executive Mr Jason Russell, Investment Attraction Manager Ms Astrid O’Farrell and local resident Mrs Min Davey, who acted as an interpreter for the group. Located in the Yunnan Province, in the far west of China neighbouring Tibet, Shangri-La is remotely located and one of the most culturally diverse regions. A fast train is currently under construction to boost visitation to the region which is well known for its natural beauty, Buddhist monasteries and yaks.

Cr Neil Pankhurst said the visit provided a great opportunity for the group to gain a first-hand understanding of the local Chinese market and how council could capitalise on the connection.

Campaspe Shire signed a Sister City Agreement with Shangri-La in 2008 with the focus of the friendship around education exchange programs, trade and tourism. A number of visits have occurred to Shangri-La from Campaspe delegates and to Campaspe from Shangri-La delegates since this time.

“This visit had two main focusses, to join in the 60th anniversary celebrations of Shangri-La’s autonomy and attend the Special Products Trade Fair,” Cr Pankhurst said.

“Thousands and thousands of people attended the anniversary celebrations, joined by many high ranking senior Chinese officials from various provinces and prefectures.”

“The celebrations were colourful and spectacular, showcasing Shangri-La talents and culture.”

Cr Leigh Wilson said the delegation took with them a range of local products for the trade fair.

“The trade fair catered for specialised products and thousands of products were showcased from locally produced craft beer to unusual foods, such as porcupine,” Cr Wilson said.

Campaspe Shire’s display included a range of local wines, local produce including cheese and tomato products as well as beauty products.

“Whilst our products were only available to taste or try, the customers wanted more and more and wanted to know where they could buy them, with the beauty products proving particularly popular,” Cr Wilson said.

“The interest demonstrates a clear want for our products in the Chinese market.”

Cr Pankhurst said a video, with a welcome in Mandarin, was used throughout the visit showcasing the Shire of Campaspe, promoting the attractions and lifestyle.

“Great footage of our shire highlighted the starry nights we enjoy, our natural and built environment, all of great interest for Chinese considering to visit our region. The video was supported by Chinese promotional material,” Cr Pankhurst said.

“The video and promotional material can now be used locally to connect with visiting Chinese tourists.”

The Sister City movement aims to develop friendships between people of different countries, to enhance understanding across cultures.

“This is clearly evident from our visit. The Chinese were keen to learn from us, as we were keen to learn from them,” Cr Pankhurst said.

“The Chinese economy is one of the world’s largest, so the potential from our growing alliance with Shangri-La is boundless and we’re excited about the potential.”