Warrnambool City Council has secured $150,000 to lead an Australian-first business mentoring program.

FUTURE: Images Restaurant owner Jonathon Dodwell and chef Ken Foo. Images is one business that has already translated its menu into Chinese. Picture: Rob Gunstone
FUTURE: Images Restaurant owner Jonathon Dodwell and chef Ken Foo. Images is one business that has already translated its menu into Chinese. Picture: Rob Gunstone

A $150,000 state government cash injection aims to help local businesses capitalise on the booming Chinese tourism industry.

Warrnambool City Council has secured $150,000 to lead an Australian-first business mentoring program.

Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford announced the grant this week as part of the Regional Skills Fund.

The China Host Program will see Great Ocean Road businesses take part in a series of workshops and activities to create the industry-leading services and experiences that will help take Chinese tourism in the region to the next level.

The program will include one-on-one mentoring, advanced marketing support, identification and analysis of world-class case studies and an introduction to popular Chinese social media platform WeChat.

It will also include a series of workshops outlining an array of simple measures that all businesses can take to encourage patronage by Chinese visitors.

The council’s economic development and investment manager Shaun Miller said the cash would allow for the expansion of the Changchun sister city relationship and the Warrnambool China Bureau.

“It reinforces our city’s China Strategy that aims for Warrnambool to be the leading China-ready city in Australia,” he said.

“This is an intensive leadership program that will provide participating businesses with the tools and support to ensure our local service levels are internationally renowned while also becoming global leaders in catering for the burgeoning Asian tourism market.

“Chinese tourism in Victoria is projected to continue to grow and is the Great Ocean Road’s largest and fastest growing market.

“With tourism one of the most important industries across the region, it’s vitally important that we do everything we can to ensure international visitors have best possible experience. 

“Any business that has the capacity to cater for Chinese tourists and is dedicated to becoming an industry leader is encouraged to apply.”

Businesses seeking further information can contact Warrnambool City Council’s economic development and investment unit via email on ecodev@warrnambool.vic.gov.au or by calling 5559 4800.