Hunter's sales pitch to Chinese tourists

A ROUND of golf and lunch in the sand dunes today could deliver a tourism pay day for the Hunter tomorrow.

The region will host 18 delegates from some of China’s top travel companies as part of a Destination NSW visit aimed at giving them a firsthand taste of what the region can offer.

Among the companies represented will be Ctrip, which reportedly sold out an 80-day world trip worth almost $160,000 a person in less than 20 seconds earlier this year.

Port Stephens mayor Bob Westbury said the visit was ‘‘absolutely fantastic.’’

‘‘It’s a real coup for Port Stephens,’’ he said.

The delegates will fly into Newcastle Airport before being whisked to Horizons Golf Course for a round.

From there they will be flown to lunch and sand-boarding on the Stockton dunes, then on to Hunter wine country for a tasting before travelling to Sydney.

Port Stephens Tourism marketing manager Tars Bylhouwer said endorsing the region to companies with major shares in the Chinese market could provide a massive windfall to the region’s tourism. He said it was vital the region continued its long-term focus on the Chinese tourism industry.

‘‘We have done all the hard yards, but so have other places,’’ Mr Bylhouwer said.

A successful visit could net millions in the Hunter within a few years, he said.

‘‘Potentially the sky is the limit,’’ Mr Bylhouwer said.

‘‘[China] will become an increasing part of the mix for us, so this is definitely significant.’’

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