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McLAREN Vale wineries hope to use the Chinese temple and 18m-tall Buddha statue at Sellicks Hill to cash in on tourists from the Asian nation’s growing appetite for Australian wine.
A Chinese delegation visited the region last month and praised the $15 million temple plan, saying it would bring “chi” to the area and strengthen relationships with China.
The delegation of eight wine industry representatives visited the area last month to see first hand operations at Chalk Hill winery.
Winery manager Stuart Mosman said the group insisted on visiting the temple site on Cactus Canyon Rd to learn more about the SA’s Nan Hai Pu Tuo Temple of Australia project.
“The delegation talked about ties with the region growing with China because of the temple,” Mosman said.
“They said it would create ‘chi’ for the region and would bring good spirits and good will.
“It should have people visiting every week to see the temple and the wine region could be another part of that.
“It was eye opening what the development could do for the region and tourism.”
The Southern Times Messenger reported in February the development, which included a 35m-high pagoda, temple and Chinese garden, was expected to bring 20,000 visitors to the south each year.
Mosman said it was a prime opportunity for McLaren Vale wineries to promote their brands to China – Australia’s fastest growing export market.
“About 20-25 per cent of our business is based in China,” he said.
“Exports are a very big market and if it accelerates there’s no doubt China will suck up most of the world’s wine.”
McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association chief executive consultant Marc Allgrove said the development could be a point of difference to draw Chinese tourists to the wine region.
“I’ve been lead to believe the presence of such a temple in views surrounding region is good luck in the eyes of many cultures that follows Buddhism,” Allgrove said.
“If that positive reflection results in a greater demand for wine and produce in the region then the region and all those that live and work within it would stand to benefit, as would the whole of SA.”
Nan Hai Pu Tuo Temple of Australia spokesman Lee Chew said the region should prepare for visitors from as far as Canada.
“When this is built it will attract tourists from all over the world, including Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore,” Chew said.
“People in Canada are already donating to the building foundation of the temple.
“It is very special for Buddhists to donate to the building of a temple and we expect they will visit along with people from one of the largest Buddhist universities in the US.”
The resort’s temple will be the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and take over the reign from Nan Tien Temple in Wollongong, NSW.
Chew said work was underway to build a road to connect Main South Rd to Cactus Canyon Rd.
The temple’s 18m-tall granite statue, which is coming in 11 parts from China, is expected to be complete in February next year.
Source: Erin Jones, The Advertiser
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