Giant Pandas begin a giant trek around Australia
A fleet of ten giant panda-themed campervans today began an epic journey which will see them circumnavigate the Australian mainland promoting China as a tourist destination. Over eleven 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.
Organised as part of a joint Australian-Chinese tourism cooperation initiative, the panda-themed vans will also promote Australian tourist destinations to a Chinese audience well in excess of 100 million people.
“The giant panda is a national treasure of China and a great symbol of friendship between our nations, this promotion is a first for China Tourism anywhere in the world,” says Mr. LUO Weijian, Director of the China National Tourist Office.
“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. The Panda Explorer Trek fulfils two roles, taking China to hundreds of towns and regional communities; and giving millions upon millions of Chinese people an insight into the diverse landscapes and cultures of Australia.”
Organisers are hoping to make one of the most significant stops in South Australia where Adelaide Zoo is home to Australia’s only giant pandas Wang Wang and Fu Ni. The Panda Explorer Trek was launched today in Sydney by Mr. Luo, Chinese Ambassador to Australia H. E. CHENG Jingye and, Tourism Australia Chairman, Mr. Tony South. They were joined by leading China-Australia tourism stakeholders including the General Managers of key Chinese airlines, Air China, China Eastern, Hainan Airlines and Xiamen Airlines and a number of Australian-based tour operators.
The trek is part of the 2017 China-Australia Year of Tourism (CAYOT2017), a year-long promotion of tourism cooperation between Australia and China, which will see the implementation of a number of joint initiatives aimed at strengthening tourism exchange and cooperation.
Along its 30,000 kilometre route the Panda Explorers will act as travelling information booths on China and its many wonders, as well as handing out panda-themed giveaways. Images and video captured by the Panda Explorer teams will be to multiple Chinese online and social media platforms, as well as mainstream media outlets. Says Mr. Luo, “Our media partners in China will offer great exposure to Australia, given that reach, we expect well over one hundred million Chinese people will view images, video and read great stories from the Panda Explorer Trek.
“However, 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, 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 hugely popular tourist destinations such as Xi’an and Sichuan province, home to China’s giant panda sanctuaries and world famous for its spicy food.