BOOSTING Chinese tourist numbers and building trade links are the focus of a visit by the Southern Grampians’ sister city next month.
Representatives of China’s Gaoyou City will visit Hamilton as part of Sheepvention celebrations where an agreement will be signed to further strengthen the partnership between the two centres.
Southern Grampians mayor Bob Penny said the initial relationship was made a decade ago, in partnership with The Hamilton and Alexandra College and Gaoyou Middle School, which each year exchange year nine students for three weeks.
Shire chief executive Richard Perry made a personal visit to the city last year, when he discussed opportunities to further build and reaffirm the relationship.
Cr Penny said over time the affiliation had changed due to changing economic times.
The renewed partnership is looking at the potential for trade delegations and investment opportunities which would benefit both centres.
“We are trying to make this relationship more productive than it has been in the past — we need to get it fired up again,” he said.
“We are very keen on encouraging tourism.
“China is a very large part of the tourism market and we would like to have a lot of that share.
“There are also quite a number of businesses in the area that would like to be linked in with this work with China.
“It’s all about improving those relationships.
“Over the years there has been a lot of visits to Gaoyou, we’ve had councillors go over, mayors, and their councillors have come here.
“The next step is boosting what we have started.”