The biggest travel review website Tripadvisor.com recently published a list of the top 10 entertainment and marine theme parks in the Southern Pacific region. Nine of them are theme parks in Australia. Now the Australians are planing to build a “Chinese Disneyland” on NSW’s Central Coast, where people can enjoy the authentic Chinese experience in Australia.
According to Australian media, a company has unveiled plans to build a massive, 500 million dollar Chinese theme park in Warnervale Town, Wyong Shire, NSW. To be known as “Chappypie China Time”, stage one of the park could be open as soon as 2016. The city of Wyong Shire hopes the park can become a new landmark like Sydney’s Opera House and Harbor Bridge.
Doug Eaton, the mayor of Wyong Shire, introduced the plans for the park, which include themes like Meridian Gate, Panda Paradise, Spring Festival Square, Thanksgiving Temple, Arts and crafts workshops, and Zheng He’s Treasure Ship. Visitors can engage in spaces that explore calligraphy, traditional theater and music, gardens and a panorama of Chinese history. The development application for stage one of the park is yet to be lodged, but it has already received support from the mayor.
“I’ve truly never seen anything like this before — it’s going to blow people away when they watch the video and get a sense of how big and imaginative this concept really is and what it can do in terms of tourism for our shire,” Mr Eaton said. “The developers have long been telling us that this theme park will be up there with the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge in terms of tourist attractions and I’ve got to hand it to them — it’s absolutely in that category.”
Zhong Yazhang, chairman of the board of the company behind the 15.7-hectare project, Australia-Chinese Theme Park Pty Ltd, has told journalists that Chinese theme parks are an extension of Chinese culture overseas. As distinct from Confucius Institutes, this theme park in Australia combines architecture, arts, food and more to provide a new leisure model of Chinese culture for tourists. Zhong also says a Chinese theme park in Australia could be a place for overseas Chinese to spend their Spring Festival. A Chinese theme park will trigger Australian interest in Chinese culture, and provide them with a platform for further exploration.
“The number of Chinese people in Australia has been increasing year by year, and Australia needs another venue in addition to Chinatown for overseas Chinese to gather, especially for traditional festivals,” says Zhong. “We are carrying out research to see if short-stay Chinese tourists would be interested in Chinese culture presented in Australia.”
According to Zhong, the main difficulty the company is facing right now is how to attract more professionals to manage, run and invest in the project. “We hope that all those involved will bear in mind that the goal of the park is cultural communication not commercialization. Otherwise, the park will never achieve its aim of spreading and transferring Chinese culture. We believe that such a theme park, like Disneyland, will be very popular with western society.”