WHILE the Chinese bid for a casino in Airlie Beach may have attracted the most local and national media attention to date, another potential development by the same group could bring a substantial number of visitors to our region.
The Chinese Australia Entrepreneurs Association Inc (CAEAI) has expressed an interest in establishing a Mount Putuo Buddhist temple in the area and the president of the Mount Putuo Buddhist Association and head of the Buddhist faith in China, Abbot Daoci, is coming to Airlie Beach next week.
Whitsunday residents will be invited to learn more about the Buddhist faith at a free public seminar, to be held at 3pm, next Thursday, May 22, at the Whitsunday PCYC.
Whitsunday mayor Jennifer Whitney said she was very pleased to welcome the Buddhist delegation from Mount Putuo, whom she personally invited to the Whitsundays during last year's trade mission to China.
"During the delegation's visit we anticipate hundreds of followers from across Australia and China will travel to the Whitsunday region to hear Abbot Daoci's seminar," she said.
"The Guan Yin Buddhist faith is said to be the embodiment of great compassion and is supposed to help relieve suffering."
Abbot Daoci's seminar, which will be translated into English, will give interested community members an insight into Guan Yin Buddhism, a very popular form of Buddhism in South East Asia.
According to Guan Yin practices, once a particular temple has been visited it must continually be visited throughout the Buddhists' lifetime.
Cr Whitney said if a Guan Yin Buddhist temple was established in the Whitsunday region "it could be the beginning of a constant flow of followers visiting the region and a further boost to local tourism".
At a Chinese Cultural Awareness forum hosted by Whitsundays Marketing and Development and attended by about 120 people last week, Cr Whitney said there would be exciting times ahead as the relationship with China continued to build momentum.
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