|Spicers Hidden Vale|
Move over Year of the Horse, Chinese travellers are flocking to Queensland’s Gold Coast in record numbers to celebrate Chinese New Year, this time in the spirit of the koala.
The Chinese lunar calendar traditionally claims 2014 as the year of the horse, but it’s the global appeal of the koala and its no-fuss approach to life that is still the number one drawcard for Chinese holidaymakers to Australia’s most popular beach-side tourist destination.
This year, the year of the horse, it is expected that the Gold Coast will welcome more than 200,000 Chinese visitors, a record 30 percent increase over last year with thousands holidaying on the Gold Coast over they next few days alone.
They come to experience the wildlife, the wide open spaces and the shopping.
|Chines girl with koala|
“Well in China we always celebrate (Chinese New Year) at home so we only can buy the horse toy but here we can ride the real horse and it’s big fun and I hope that success is coming soon,” he said.
Despite filly fever, the koala is still the clear favourite.
Director of Marketing for Dreamworld, a major theme park on Queensland’s Gold Coast, Annette Pearce, said, “We’re seeing some great bookings leading into the next 2 weeks, especially over the next few days as the Chinese start to arrive.
“One of the reasons they really like coming to the Gold Coast and to Queensland, is it’s one of the only places in Australia they can actually get to hold a Koala.”
“Chinese travellers often come from fast-paced and crowded cities, so we’d love it if they could embrace the unofficial Year of the Koala, slow down and enjoy the relaxed lifestyle of Queensland,” she added.
Little Gue (Maggie) Reilei, an eight year old visitor to Dreamworld’s Australian Wildlife Experience said she hoped one day the koala would join the line up of Chinese zodiacs.
|Spicers Hidden Vale|
“I hope the koala will be one of the Chinese animal in the New Year zodiac.”
Many Chinese visitors to the Gold Coast will make sure the Australian Outback Spectacular is also on the itinerary. A dramatic live show, it showcases life in the Australian Outback today and features 60 performing stock horses, stunt riding, trick riding and preshow entertainment.
In the year to September 2013, the state of Queensland welcomed close to 20 million visitors generating around $18 billion in overnight visitor expenditure.