Why Chinese traffic signs will soon appear along Victoria's Great Ocean Road

An idea from a road safety worker has blossomed into a system that warns Chinese tourists of the dangers of speeding along Victoria's Great Ocean Road.

 

Software has been developed to switch between English and Mandarin signs, making the famous tourist stretch more Chinese-friendly.

Road safety signs will now be available in Mandarin and English. Source: 7 News

The plan is to make the popular tourist drive more "Chinese-friendly". Source: 7 News

"It's about safety for the workers and the people driving, but it's also about welcoming our visitors," Victoria's Road Minister Luke Donnellan said.

In what is a sign of the tourism times, VicRoads has developed software to display 25 different warnings in Mandarin.

The idea came from road safety worker Matt Wighton, who used Google Translate to communicate with confused Chinese drivers.

Road safety worker Matt was using Google Translate to help confused tourists when he came up with the idea. Source: 7 News

"I'm really glad because it is going to be a benefit for everyone on the roads," he said.

VicRoads expects the multilingual signs to spread to other major highways.

"It's actually been quite difficult to get the software right and this is an Australian first," VicRoads' Mark Koliba said.

Asian tourism is big business for the Victorian economy, with Chinese tourists spending approximately $2 billion per year.

Chinese tourists spend up to $2 billion in Victoria per year. Source: 7 News

That figure is expected to double over the next few years.

About 570,000 Chinese tourists visited Victoria in 2016 and almost half toured the Great Ocean Road.

Almost half of all Chinese tourists who travelled to Victoria in 2016 took a trip along the Great Ocean Road. Source: 7 News

"When there is a safety hazard, clearly with 570,000 tourists we have to ensure that we are Chinese-friendly," Tourism Minister John Eren said.

The State and Federal governments are spending $150 million to make the winding road safer, while this visitor-friendly software cost just $10,000.

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