Government wants to translate Australian road signs into Mandarin

The federal tourism minister will propose translating Australian road signs into Mandarin at a meeting of state and territory tourism heads next year.

In a bid to get Chinese tourists off the beaten track, federal Tourism Minister Richard Colbeck is proposing translating road signs into Mandarin.

Senator Colbeck is floating the idea in an effort to capture more of the lucrative Chinese tourism market.

Despite having "no firm plans", he says he will present the suggestion to state and territory leaders at his first tourism ministers' meeting in 2016.

"With close to a million visitors from China coming to Australia, injecting $7.7 billion into the economy annually and growing, we must do whatever we can to ensure they enjoy their experience and want to return," he told AAP.

"About 40 per cent of Chinese tourists are choosing to self-drive so signage, roads, wi-fi and basic amenities are important to encourage them to explore our vast country safely."

Tourism & Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond fully supports the proposal, adding dual language signage is already evident at a number of private sector tourist attractions.

"It's not just about bus tours anymore, they want to get in the car and they want to drive so they need to understand the Australian road rules, and we need to help them get around," she said.

She said the use of electronic signage could be the key to reducing potential roll-out costs.

According to data from Tourism Research Australia, the country experienced a 22 per cent surge in Chinese tourists and a 43 per cent rise in their expenditure in the year ending September 2015.

Tourism Australia's managing director John O'Sullivan said they had shifted their focus from attracting Chinese tour groups to independent travellers.

"These people tend to stay longer, they spend more," he told AAP.

He said their "unashamedly high-yield" strategy was part of a plan to reach a $120 billion tourism expenditure goal by 2020.

Source AAP

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