New Zealand tourism sees huge boom in Chinese travelers

World Today

New Zealand tourism sees huge boom in Chinese travelers

New Zealand is a hot destination for Chinese tourists.

It could get even more popular with Chinese airlines offering more direct flights to New Zealand.

CGTN’s Owen Poland reports from Auckland.

New Zealand tourism sees huge boom in Chinese travelers

New Zealand is a hot destination for Chinese tourists. It could get even more popular with Chinese airlines offering more direct flights to New Zealand. CGTN's Owen Poland reports from Auckland.

A record 422,000 Chinese tourists came to New Zealand over the past year. While the annual growth rate has slowed to just 14 percent, tourism officials are confident about the future.

“The outlook is very very positive and we are very committed to China as a long term opportunity,” David Craig, general manager of Asia at Tourism New Zealand said.

Sichuan Airlines will become the seventh Chinese carrier to launch a New Zealand service when it starts three weekly flights from Chengdu in June. Air New Zealand also operates ten weekly flights to Shanghai in the peak seasons and it welcomes the competition.

“The more Chinese airlines that come to New Zealand, organically, the more promotion of New Zealand as an outbound destination in China, so in some ways it helps to stimulate the market,” said Cam Wallace, Chief Revenue Officer for Air New Zealand.

And Auckland’s economic development agency hopes the Chinese visitors keep coming back.

“Those people may come here in the first instance as tourists, but they come back a second time as an investor, or as a migrant, or as parents of international students,” Brett O’Reilly from Auckland Tourism & Economic Development said.

The latest tourism growth forecasts predict that the number of Chinese visitors coming to New Zealand will more than double to more than 900,000 by 2020, and China will overtake Australia in terms of the tourism dollars being spent here.

Wealthy Chinese tourists are staying longer and spending more. It’s estimated that Chinese tourism will contribute more than 5$ billion to the economy within six years and the challenge is to attract more high value tourism.

Air New Zealand is world famous for its quirky safety videos, like one targeted at Chinese romantics, and it’s also chasing China’s big spending middle-class.

The proposed upgrade of the China-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement will hopefully stimulate even more travel in future.

And Auckland Airport is playing its part, investing more than $1 million every day to prepare for the growing number of Chinese guests.