Christchurch Airport will welcome more Japanese travellers than
ever this coming summer.
Twenty-two of 29 just announced charter flights from Japan fly
direct to Christchurch, bringing the majority of the 6000 Japanese
Air New Zealand will more than double its summer charters
between December and March and fly from eight Japanese cities.
Christchurch Airport CEO Jim Boult says the charter services are
a response to market demand, so are sure to be well supported by
Japanese travellers, who simply love the South Island.
"Japanese travellers book to visit New Zealand because of images
of majestic mountains, glaciers, lakes, big blue skies and wide
open space," says Mr Boult. "Of course all those sights and
experiences are in the South Island.
"Visitors tell us the promise of those scenes and experiences
starts to be delivered as they fly in over the Southern Alps to
land at the airport. Their first holiday image of the mountains is
taken through the window of the plane and the second is a similar
shot taken from a window in our terminal.
"Add in the famous southern hospitality and you can see why
Japanese visitors love coming here and go home to tell friends and
family they must come south too."
Mr Boult says the charter programme will continue to build on
the increasing numbers of Japanese travellers flying into
"Last month, for example, we saw a 13.2% increase in Japanese
visitors, as well as increases in visitors from China, Malaysia,
Indonesia, Singapore and Ireland," he says.
"The seasonal boost to traveller numbers which skiers bring has
hit its peak and now we are starting to see bookings for travellers
who want to see our summer scenery."
Mr Boult says Christchurch Airport is also seeing increasing
numbers of domestic arrivals, some of whom are international
visitors travelling around the country.
Numbers of overseas workers seeking employment in the city
rebuild are increasing and other schemes currently under discussion
with airlines to be revealed in the near future are also likely to
increase southern visitor numbers.
Mr Boult says the charter programme is a great example of Air
New Zealand working collegially with airports and tourism operators
for collective advantage.
"Air New Zealand is the main source of Japanese arrivals into
the South Island, through its summer programme and it's great to
see the programme expanded in its fifth season," he says.
"The increased number of charter flights is a particularly
welcome boost in numbers for us all and we applaud the airline's
efforts. Japanese visitors are also amongst New Zealand's highest
yield tourists, with an average per head spend of $3,700. This
compares very favourably with other nationalities, for example
Australia, where the average per head spend here is $1,500.
"It is also important to acknowledge the support of South Island
tourism operators who have worked with us and contributed to the
programme which will bring those Japanese visitors here. The
Hermitage Hotel / Milford and Routeburn Guided Walks, Real Journeys
and Skyline Enterprises are well respected operators who offer
experiences overseas visitors look forward to. They, like we, look
forward to welcoming our summer visitors."
Ryan Ingram, Director of Sales at Real Journeys, says Japan
remains an important high yield visitor market for the business and
the recovery in the market, so marketing initiatives such as this
"From a Real Journeys, Queenstown and South Island perspective,
this is a great result because it makes the South Island more
accessible for Japanese tourists," he says. "That is exactly
what we want so the charter programme has our full support."