Tassie lays out welcome mat

Written By miftah nugraha on Senin, 08 April 2013 | 19.55

A VISIT by Chinese president Xi Jinping would be among the biggest logistical feats in the state's history, says Premier Lara Giddings.

Ms Giddings said she wrote to President Xi in December, inviting him to tour the state when he next visited Australia.

She said such a visit would be a great honour.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who is now visiting China, has said the President mentioned he had been to every state but Tasmania and she aimed to put it on the itinerary.

"That fact that Tasmania is on President Xi's agenda highlights that while we may be a small state, we are making a big impression in one of the fastest growing countries in the world," Ms Giddings said in a statement today.

"This would be a first for Tasmania and would be one of the biggest logistical challenges in the state's history. President Xi would be accompanied by a considerable entourage of officials, state media and security personnel.

"But an official visit would open up enormous opportunities to strengthen Tasmania's relationship with China and capitalise on the country's rapid growth."

Ms Giddings said President Xi has had a long association with Tasmania as the former Governor of our Chinese sister-state, the Fujian Province.

"Former Premier Jim Bacon was a regular visitor to Fujian and was bestowed with honorary citizenship by President Xi during a ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the relationship in 2001," she said.

"I would very much welcome the opportunity to return the gesture if President Xi was to visit Tasmania."

Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief executive officer Luke Martin said a visit from the global leader would generate promotion and publicity for the state that no money could buy.

"If there is even a small chance to secure a visit to Tasmania by the Chinese President, or any Asian leader, then we should be smart as a state and pursue it with full vigour," Mr Martin said.

"Imagine what a boost it would be for Tasmania's profile in Asia for the Chinese President to experience first-hand Tasmania's world-class hospitality, and the images it would generate of our state beamed straight back into Asia."

Mr Martin said China was on track to become Tasmania's number one international visitor market by 2020, with other emerging Asian markets also growing rapidly.

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