Cairns needs 'intellectual and physical infrastructure' overhaul, says China expert
A CULTURAL expert is warning that the Far North needs to refurbish its intellectual as well as physical infrastructure to cope with the tourism, education and business growth from China.
China Australia Consult director Brian Hennessy said the region could not underestimate the huge impact of the direct flights from mainland China after they started next month.
"Cairns’s future as a destination for tourists is dependent on China," he said. "China’s rise has spawned a growing middle class with a desire to travel. Although Cairns is working hard to develop the Chinese market, the competition is fierce."
Mr Hennessy said Europe offered multiple countries and cultures, Thailand boasted exotic locations and a favourable exchange rate and Singapore was being marketed as the hub of Asia. He said if the tourism industry hoped to compete, it must do things differently compared to the Japanese boom last time.
"China is different from Japan. We may need to refurbish our intellectual as well as our physical infrastructure," Mr Hennessy said.
But Mr Hennessy and his wife Yirong Li, who is an assistant professor at Chongqing Jiaotong University, said they were concerned James Cook University was cancelling its Chinese Mandarin course at the end of the year.
He plans to use a languages forum at the Smithfield campus next week to urge the university to continue the course. "This decision will have long-term ramifications for Cairns," Mr Hennessy said.
"If Cairns hopes to develop the market for Chinese tourism in a way that will be sustainable in the long term, then local graduates in these disciplines will be needed."
A JCU spokeswoman said the course would probably be cancelled at the end of the year.
She said JCU had offered Chinese language classes since 2007 but dwindling enrolments meant the course was unlikely to continue.
NEW CAIRNS.COM.AU COMMENT POLICY
We welcome your comments on this story. Comments are submitted for possible publication on the condition that they may be edited. Comments submitted without a full name and suburb/location will not be considered for publication. Please read our full comment policy and publication guidelines.
Share this article
"Cairns' future as a destination for tourists is dependent on China": Chinese cultural expert Brian Hennessy (pictured with his wife, Yirong Li, says Cairns must do things differently compared to the Japanese boom in the 1990s.