Will Hodgman

Premier of Tasmania

Savour Tasmania Gala Dinner

9th September 2015

Rose Ballroom, Peninsula Hotel, Shanghai, China

On behalf of the State of Tasmania I extend a very warm welcome and thank you all for joining us tonight.

Tonight we bring a taste of Tasmania to Shanghai.

The connection between Tasmania and China stretches back many years, with the first Chinese migrants coming to our state in the 1870's.

But our friendship has strengthened considerably in recent decades, and reached a memorable peak last November when we proudly hosted President Xi Jinping and Madam Peng in Tasmania.

It was memorable and historic; and without doubt the most significant chapter in the story of cooperation, trade, cultural exchange and friendship between Tasmania and China.

Tonight is another remarkable milestone in this rich story. For the first time we have taken our prestigious 'Savour Tasmania' gala dinner out of Tasmania. And we've brought it here, to China, now our largest trading partner.

Combined with a trade mission being led by my Minister for State Growth, Matthew Groom, and which brings many distinguished Tasmanians to China representing our key sectors of agriculture, aquaculture, Antarctic affairs, aviation, education, tourism and hospitality, resources, banking and finance.

We come together tonight to celebrate our friendship with China, and to share a meal together - a central part of all great friendships - and to consider new partnerships, and a more prosperous future.

And tonight we will savour some of Tasmania's finest produce - from Huon Aquaculture, Petuna Seafoods, Greenhams, Tas Prime Oysters, Ralph's Tasmanian Seafood, Tony Garth Seafoods and Hansen Orchards.

Josef Chromy and Nocton Vineyards have provided their fine wines.

They are excellent examples of many world class producers from Tasmania - a place of rare natural beauty; a precious, clean and safe environment. Australia's gourmet food bowl.

Set in the vast expanse of the Southern Ocean, ideally placed for catching and growing  outstanding seafood.

We have the cleanest air recorded for any populated place on the planet. Our water is fresh, and abundant.

A land of rich, fertile soils, free of disease and genetically modified organisms, that produces high quality beef, lamb and other meats; rich dairy products including milk, cream, cheese and yoghurt.

Once known as the "Apple Isle" Tasmania now also produces delicious fresh cherries, pears and apricots.

If that's not enough, we also produce Australia's best saffron, garlic, black truffles, walnuts, carrots, onions and honey.

The smallest state, we have the warmest hearts - and each year welcome over one million visitors to our home of just five hundred thousand people.

Now, the Chinese tourists represent the largest and fastest growing group of our international visitors. There has been a 49 per cent increase in Chinese visitors over the past year alone.

And Tasmania is now very much one of the world's must see destinations.

Lonely Planet has us ranked in the top four places in the world to visit in 2015.

Travel & Leisure have just voted us one of the top four islands in the world.

Our natural environment is world class, with much of the state world heritage listed.

We have world's best museums, whisky, wine, ciders and beers; the best boutique hotel in the world; world class beaches, bush walks and golf courses.

Tasmania is in the limelight. We are not waiting to be discovered, we are taking Tasmania to the world. And we are honoured and delighted to be here, in Shanghai tonight.

Tasmania - Huan Ying Ning!