Chinese visitors impressed

Cooma's ties with one of the world's largest economies is strengthening, following a visit of a delegation from China to the region last week.

Four delegates from China toured Cooma and Bombala last week visiting local agricultural industries and educational facilities.

They are now looking at establishing an exchange with Monaro High School and potentially hold a seminar in Cooma next year.

The visit comes on the back of a visit to China in October for the World Agritourism Development Forum by Cooma-Monaro Shire Council's mayor Dean Lynch and Bombala Shire Council mayor Bob Stewart.

Cr Lynch said it was a coup for Cooma to have the Chinese delegates visit the town.

"Out of all the countries in the world represented at the forum, they decided to come here," he said.

"Out of the 40 countries represented this is the only place they have come."

"This is a further step in our business and working relationships.

"It's about forming relationships and connections.

"This is the first stage of a strong connection with China, whether through education or agriculture."

The delegation arrived on Tuesday and they spent time in Bombala with Bob Stewart before heading to Cooma on Wednesday afternoon where they had dinner at Miss Heidi's Teahouse with Cooma-Monaro Shire councillors and were welcomed with a traditional aboriginal smoking ceremony.

On Thursday they visited the Gordon Litchfield Wool Store where they were shown all the workings of the wool store.

China buys about 80 per cent of Australia's wool.

Later that day the delegation dropped into Monaro High School where they toured the school's agriculture block and got to feed the sheep and goats and cattle.

Afterwards they had a round table discussion about the possibilities of a student exchange with the principal Adrian Bell, some year 12 students and Cr Lynch.

Mr Bell said he was interested in talking about the potential for an exchange program at the school and is excited about the possibilities.

"We are just having preliminary negotiations. It may involve billeting with Monaro families and would most likely involve senior students, " Mr Bell said.

"I think exposing our students to the world of one of our largest economic partners is a great idea.

"Who knows where it might lead."

One of the Chinese delegates, May Yan, said Chinese students who live in the city have no understanding of animals or the environment.

"Chinese kids need a hands-on experience with animals, touching nature, raising animals," Ms Yang said.

"The students don't know where food comes from."

Cr Lynch said they are aiming to have Chinese students in the area by 2015. He said there were also talks of a seminar for representatives from China in the region by next May.

"They loved the natural environment and the things we take for granted like wide open spaces. They were quite impressed with Cooma," he said.

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