New Zealand expects a bigger share of Chinese tourists

Published on : Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Chinese touristsTourism groups in New Zealand are confident that the Chinese market is in good shape after going through a sharp slump in numbers and spending last year. This year up to September, the Chinese tourists spent $1.425 billion in NZ, which is an 18 per cent drop from the previous year.

Numbers from China went down in June, with holiday arrivals going down 15 per cent to 11,000 on the same month in 2016.

An increase in the number of flights going to New Zealand from China during the last four years has resulted in double-digit growth and China remains on track to take over Australia as NZ’s most valuable tourism market in the next five years.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts said that the sudden slowdown around the middle of last year was not only felt in New Zealand but on a global scale.

To quote Roberts, “In 2017, the incredible growth in Chinese outbound travel suddenly slowed. At the same time, New Zealand caught up with our competitors by offering a five-year multi-entry visa.”

Altough a welcome move, it led to few Chinese tourists delaying their travel to New Zealand until the visa was made available. Roberts said the market had recovered strongly since July.

New Zealand is a niche destination, attracting more than 400,000 out of 140 million overseas trips taken by the Chinese tourists every year, and is most sought after.

Roberts said, “We are not likely to return to the 30 per cent to 40 per cent annual growth out of China we saw a few years ago, but we can expect steady and good quality growth.”
New Zealand’s worth is expected to get a further boost by the Year of China-NZ Tourism to be held in 2019.

However, there are still concerns about the supply of hotels, especially around Chinese New Year next month.

Managing Director of China Travel Service, Lisa Li, said that it is good to promote New Zealand as a probable destination for higher-spending Chinese tourists but facilities need to be increased for accommodating them all.

”My only concern is the quality — the feedback from some of our customers is that they are paying a premium and they expect high quality service. It’s harder to change the facilities [in New Zealand] but something we can do is change the service,” she said. ”We are getting more expensive so the expectations are getting higher and higher.” Li added.


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