Gladstone opens its doors to Chinese investment, tourism
OPENING up our region to Chinese investment in trade and tourism was discussed at a meeting between key stakeholders yesterday.
Representatives from Gladstone Industry Leadership Group, Gladstone Ports Corporation, Gladstone Engineering Alliance, GAPDL, Gladstone Regional Council and CQUniversity attended the meeting run by the Australia International Trade Association and Associates.
The AITAA is an association which aims in building a platform for bridging bilateral cooperation between Australia and China in various fields and promoting the establishment of friendship cities from a government level.
AITAA chief executive officer Michael Guo, who immigrated to Australia in the 1980s, facilitated the meeting with Councillor Desley O'Grady representing GRC.
The meeting followed Cr O'Grady's trip to China last year.
"We came here to meet with representatives from the Gladstone community because we had Cr Desley O'Grady join our trade mission to China in September last year," Mr Guo said, who was joined by colleague Steven Moon at the meeting.
"So with Desley's trip to China we came here to meet with all her friends.
"We want to get a deeper understanding of business opportunities available in the region after meeting with various representatives from various industries."
Tourism opportunities were also discussed during the delegation's visit.
"10 years ago I wouldn't say there's too much opportunity for a regional city like Gladstone, but now quite a lot of middle class Chinese families have been to Australia one or two times," Mr Guo.
"But they're are not only thinking of Sydney or Melbourne - they really want to see true Australia - I would say a regional city like Gladstone is really the true spirit of Australia.
"When you go to big cities there's not too much difference, they're busy like Sydney. You go to Beijing or Shanghai it's very busy.
"Here it's really relaxed but has a very special taste."
And on the subject of taste, Mr Guo will also visit Rockhampton to talk beef with Beef Australia CEO Denis Cox.
Cr Desley O'Grady was thrilled with the outcome of the meeting.
"When I went to China I met with Michael and Steven and when they had the opportunity they'd come to Gladstone to see what they thought of Gladstone and see what they had to offer," Cr O'Grady said.
"We've got so many things in common with China in import and export so it would be fantastic if we could jump on board with them and make connections with China. We need to be China-ready for tourism and I think this is a great step in the right direction."