As the sun rises on the lunar new year this Friday, the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA) is celebrating record visitor numbers from China.
In the six months to the end of December Port Arthur welcomed more than 7,000 visitors from mainland China. This compares with 3700 for the twelve months to the end of June 2013, and many thousands more visit from Hong Kong and other Asian countries.
The Historic Site will celebrate the Chinese Year of the Horse, with the Port Café offering a Chinese menu featuring pork, duck and other oriental treats, while the Gift Shop has plenty to offer including dried abalone sourced from the seas around Tasmania, a range of lavender products, a book about Port Arthur in Chinese and other Tasmanian goods highly prized by Chinese guests.
Chinese visitors are able to pay for their purchases with Union Pay, the most popular Chinese bank debit card, which is accepted across all points of sale at Port Arthur and also at the Cascades Female Factory. Union Pay cards are also widely used in other countries across Asia.
Chair of the PAHSMA board, Professor Sharon Sullivan said that the Historic Site was reaping the rewards not just of strategic marketing initiatives targeting the China market in recent years, but also of growing cultural links.
“We will be hosting a Chinese masters student for the next three weeks and we are also looking forward to hosting a delegation of senior management from the Dunhuang Academy, which manages the World Heritage-listed Mogao and Yulin Grottos in far western China.”
“This is a relationship that has been developed over many years and has involved a number of exchanges between colleagues from PAHSMA and the Academy sharing and exchanging on mutual topics of interest particularly around best practice heritage tourism management.”
“We are working hard to ensure that Chinese guests enjoy their visit when they come to Port Arthur and hope to use these visits to increase our understanding of what they enjoy about coming to Tasmania and Port Arthur.”