04 December 2012

New South Wales unveils plans for $500 million Australian tourism attraction

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A town in New South Wales has revealed its plans to build a AU$500 million (£325 million) Chinese-themed Australian tourism attraction.

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The AU$500 million dollar plan includes a full scale replica of the gates of the Forbidden City.

The town of Wyong Shire, located approximately 50 miles north of Sydney, has approved the sale of almost 16 hectares of land to the Australian Chinese Theme Park Pty Ltd (ACTP) for AU$10 million (£6.5 million) with the intention of building a new Australian tourism attraction designed at luring more Chinese tourists to the region.

The theme park will include a full-scale replica of Beijing's iconic gates to the Forbidden City and it is hoped will thrust the town into the spotlight of New South Wales' tourism industry.

"What this proposal will do is turn the Wyong Shire into a tourist Mecca and bring millions of dollars worth of tourism into the area," said Wyong Shire Mayor Doug Eaton.

"Outside the [Sydney] Opera House and Harbor Bride, this has the potential to be among the biggest tourist attractions in the state."

Australia, along with the UK, the US and New Zealand has been making changes to its visa and immigration policies in recent months in order to attract more newly-wealthy Chinese tourists. However, Australia's proximity to the Chinese mainland combined with an already sizeable Chinese expatriate community has given it the front foot in the race for the Chinese Yuan.

Mr Eaton said the theme park would be a 'unique' and 'iconic' tourism venture which should be ready to open its doors by the end of the decade.

Bruce Zhong meanwhile, chairman of the ACTP, said the venture would create as many as 2,000 jobs and include a replica of the Beijing Imperial Palace visible from the F3 Freeway.

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