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Is The Big Buddha Coming To Wyong?

The Wyong region (in case you were wondering) is a nice looking strip of coastline north of Sydney, and at the moment it really isn’t very high on any list of the sites in Australia most visited by overseas tourists.

But it could be that we’re hearing a lot more about Wyong if the mayor, Doug Eaton, gets his way, and a planned AU$500million tourist-trap development gets off the ground. There have apparently been newspaper headlines and more in China creating quite a buzz about the project, which will include a theme park based on the Forbidden City, and a temple complex housing a huge statue of Buddha, and that’s a sight more enthusiasm that we’ve managed to muster here in Australia.

‘we were the fourth or fifth (local government) council they approached after everybody else laughed in their face,’ says Eaton. But he’ll be hoping that the park will be a big draw for tourists from the China, and that once those tourists touch down in Australia, they’ll be a huge boost to the economy.

And the reason that this story has caught our eye is that the casino resorts – Crown Melbourne and Sydney’s The Star pre-eminent amongst them – have been working hard to draw those same tourists to our shores. That’s because there’s a perception that whilst Chinese tourists are drawn to Australia as a destination because of its incredible natural beauty, they gravitate once they are here to activities like shopping, dining and, crucially, visiting casino resorts.

Andrew McEvoy, head of tourism body Destination Australia, puts it like this: ‘the behaviour is different to the motivation. They arrive here and find nature in the city and the highlights for them are shopping, dining and gaming or entertainment.’

That’s what makes these tourism stories interesting for us, because they’re indicative of a drive towards improving Australia as a tourist destination – especially for Chinese nationals – that will carry the casino resorts along with it.

Australia already boasts a number of truly excellent casinos, but they exist not only in fierce competition with other casinos resorts in Asia-Pacific, but in competition with our favourite online casinos and mobile casinos for the business of Australians. More tourists will mean more revenue for Australian Casinos, and more revenue will mean more investment, and so more top-quality casino resorts in the hearts of our cities. Which we think is a good idea...


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