Australia celebrates Chinese lunar new year


Updated: 2013-02-16

Nowadays the Spring Festival is not only celebrated in China, but in many foreign countries as well. Our correspondent Hannah Belcher from Australia, tells us more about the celebration there.

Bidding farewell to the Year of the Dragon in downtown Sydney, and welcoming in the Year of the Snake.

10 years ago Chinese New Year was a fringe event here, now it’s a major part of Australia’s annual cultural calendar.

The record number of Chinese tourists making Australia their New Year destination drives it all.

Andrew Mcevoy, Managing Director of Tourism Australia, said, "Chinese New Year for Australian tourism is huge. We expect as many 80,000 Chinese visitors to come to Australia, which is probably 50 per cent up on a normal month. So you can see that a lot of people come at that great time of year, and they’ll come throughout Australia."

Australia is climbing great heights to cater for the Chinese tourist.

Sydney has just introduced Mandarin guided tours of the iconic harbor bridge.

The city has eighty arts and cultural events in this year’s New Year festival, including

Snake, Snake, Snake an exhibition showcasing experimental art works by some of the leading lights of the Asian-Australian art world.

A delegation from Shenzhen is here to support these emerging Chinese artists.

Robert Kok, Councillor of City of Sydney, said, "Chinese New Year for Australia has grown to be a very important festival and significant festival in terms of being a cross cultural exchange, growing tremendously in the last 3 to 4 years and also China has been sending provinces and cities over to participate in the festival."

It’s not all about culture and tourism.

Chinese New Year is generating a lot of Chinese interest in the Australian economy at large.

Memorandums of Understanding are signed at this time, especially in the education and business sectors.

Brad Chan, Chinese Haymarket Chamber of Commerce, Sydney, said, "We’ve only started to touch the surface of what those opportunities are. It’s really an introduction to these middle class and wealthy Chinese who are looking for other places to invest their money, who are looking for a stable economy, a safe place to put their money, real estate and businesses like that are really good and attractive investments for these Chinese tourists."

From familiar food cooked in an entertaining way to the traditional Lion dance -Australia’s major cities are going all out to market and make Chinese New Year an unforgettable experience for the Chinese visitor.