Chinese TV to broadcast Carnival of Flowers to millions
TOOWOOMBA'S Carnival of Flowers will be broadcast to millions of Chinese television viewers as part of a major tourism coup.
Tourism Darling Downs CEO Ruth Wetmore confirmed national broadcaster China Central Television would send a news crew to cover the region's biggest tourism event in September.
Ms Wetmore said the deal with CCTV was struck during her trip to a tourism conference in Beijing last month.
"A lot of what happened (at the event) wasn't expected. That was totally left field," she said.
"I didn't realise these people were so in love with Toowoomba."
The conference was organised by the CCIA Business Holdings, which has also committed to bring top fashion designers for the carnival.
Ms Wetmore and TDD was initially at the conference to pitch the Toowoomba region as a "health tourism" destination for middle-class Chinese couples.
She said three organisations were interested to send trial groups to Toowoomba before the carnival, which she believed could turn into a tourism venture worth more than $33<TH>million to the region.
The trials would involve a tour through the region, a full health check-up at one of Toowoomba's private hospitals plus a visit to the Gold Coast.
"CCIA are really connected and that's why I hitched my wagon to them," Ms Wetmore said.
"We are being cautious about making sure we get the health check side of it right.
"The (Chinese) have money, they're interested in health and cultural exchange, (so) that becomes a really good opportunity (for us)."
A video from Mayor Paul Antonio was broadcast at the conference, and Ms Wetmore's interview with CCTV was watched by more than 300,000 people online.
The Carnival of Flowers will run between September 21-30.