Warrnambool City Council’s China Host Program and its graduates have scooped up four trophies at the Victorian Tourism Awards.
The program won the silver award in the Tourism Education and Training Category.
China Host Program alumni Live Wire Park and Alkina Lodge won gold in the New Tourism Business and Luxury Accommodation categories respectively, while the Apollo Bay Bakery won silver in the category of Tourism, Restaurants and Catering Services.
The China Host Program was the first of its kind in Australia and consisted of four one-day workshops where tourism operators from across the Great Ocean Road region were given the skills and knowledge to build Chinese capability in their businesses.
The China Host Program was funded via a $150,000 grant from Regional Development Victoria and delivered by Warrnambool City Council in conjunction with Asialink Business, The Australian Tourism Export Council, Dragon Trail and South West TAFE.
Warrnambool City Council Chief Executive Officer Peter Schneider said that the awards were recognition of the level of excellence achieved by the China Host Program participants.
“The China Host Program has been a massive success, and I’d like to thank the Victorian Government for their vital support,” he said.
“Warrnambool City Council led the project and the participating businesses spanned the length of the Great Ocean Road.
“While the awards won by the three businesses weren’t China-specific, the participation of so many award-winning tourism operators in the China Host Program shows just how high a value they are placing on the Chinese market.
“With one in three international visitors to Victoria expected to be from China by 2027, ensuring our region is well-equipped to cater for this high value market will be crucial in ensuring the Great Ocean Road remains one of Australia’s most popular destinations.
“Doing all we can to encourage visitors to spend at least one night in the region is also key, and the China Host Program aimed to equip the tourism operators with a deep understanding of the inbound Chinese market and give them the skills, networks and knowledge to make our world-class tourism offerings more accessible to Chinese visitors.”