Break O'Day Council considers Mandarin signage

Tasmania’s East Coast could soon feature welcome signs in Mandarin to make Chinese tourists feel more at home.

Break O’Day Mayor Mick Tucker said the council was “looking into” the possibility of placing signs throughout the region, welcoming international visitors as they enter the municipality and thanking them as they leave.

“We are always looking for those quirky little things ... it would just be a nice touch to make the region more inclusive,” he said.

Cr Tucker said the council would be discussing the proposal with key players in the tourism industry to ensure the concept worked well with the state’s overall vision for visitors.

“We haven’t come to a conclusion just yet. We want to make sure anything we do, we do well,” he said.

“We’re just taking it nice and easy, not rushing it and going through the processes… that’s why we asked for a report to be done and we will talk to other tourism partners.”

In 2014, Tasmania experienced a spike in Chinese tourists when more than 24,000 visited the state.

The boom was partly attributed to a visit from China’s President Xi Jinping however Cr Tucker said the number of Chinese visitors on the East Coast was continuing to grow.

He said while the idea would initially be to cater for those tourists, the overall plan would be to target all visitors.

“We would look at other languages as well,” he said.

“And we’re not talking about every sign, just as you first arrive and when you leave the municipality.

“We want to be out there and invite investment, development and tourism in Break O’Day because we know how important it is.”

East Coast Regional Tourism Organisation chief executive Ruth Dowty said it was important to make international visitors feel welcome.

“We want the region to be known as friendly and welcoming to all visitors,” she said.

“There’s a lot of focus at the moment, particularly on Chinese visitors as they are a growing group and it’s important to understand what it is they are looking for when they visit. We want them to have a very good experience and to go home and tell people about that visit.”

Ms Dowty said she was eager to find out more about the proposal.

“I look forward to working with the council in figuring out what would be the right way to do something like this,” she said.