Queensland’s tropical far north, a place renown internationally for its Great Barrier Reef and breathtaking scenery, is set to become a better experience thanks to a cooperative safety initiative launched by the Far North District Queensland Police Service and the Confucius Institute at The University of Queensland.
With tourist safety a key priority for the region, a range of bilingual Chinese and English brochures have been produced to cover areas identified as priorities for a safe tourist experience, including water safety, accommodation security and personal safety.
Each year more than 190,000 tourists from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan visit Cairns and the surrounding area, with many coming during the Chinese New Year period making the timing of the campaign ever more important.
UQ Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Executive Dean Professor Tim Dunne said the need for a public safety campaign was recognised after a number of tourist deaths in the past year.
“The Queensland Police Service and the Confucius Institute have worked to develop a proactive campaign which aims to highlight safety issues and build awareness,” Professor Dunne said.
“There has been strong support for the campaign from the Senior Executive at UQ, the Mayor’s office in Cairns and the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China.”
UQ Provost and Senior Vice-President Professor Max Lu grew up in Shandong Province in eastern China, and has written a message for the brochure, as has the Queensland Police Northern Region Assistant Commissioner, Paul Taylor.
In line with the Confucius Institute at UQ’s commitment to community engagement, the campaign has been a highlight for the Institute to be able to contribute in such a significant manner in the North Queensland region.
“The Confucius Institute is extremely pleased to launch this initiative with the Far North District Queensland Police Service with particular mention to the Cross Cultural Liaison Unit, and trust it will contribute to promoting a safer and more memorable experience for incoming tourists” Professor Ping Chen, Confucius Institute at UQ Director said.
“With thanks to the dedicated QPS staff in the region, the initiative has also allowed for training and engagement opportunities with local operators and service provides, who are vitally important in distributing information to the target audience”.
“We have been delighted also with the response from the media as this initiative has received national coverage through print, radio and television reporting”.
The Confucius Institute has over the years developed important partnerships in Far North Queensland including learning support for Mandarin and Chinese culture to schools with established Confucius classrooms as well as support to major cultural events including the Chinese New Year Parade organised through the Cairns & District Chinese Association Inc. (CADCAI). The Confucius Institute over recent years has provided key language and culture training to QPS staff in Brisbane and this initiative strengthens the relationship further.
The University of Queensland’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Peter Høj, a Senior Consultant to the Confucius Institute headquarters, has continued to promote a strong sense of community spirit within the University, the Confucius Institute and the surrounding regions.
In late December 2015, Chinese Vice-Premier and Council of Confucius Institute Headquarters Chair Madam Liu Yandong, presented Professor Peter Høj with an Outstanding Individual of the Year Award in recognition of his contribution to the global Confucius Institute Network.
Through the guidance and support from the Confucius Institute Headquarters, UQ Senior representatives, and most importantly the local community, initiatives such as the tourist safety brochure campaign will continue to foster opportunities for multicultural engagement.