Christchurch Airport - Becoming China Ready

Christchurch Airport and the associated 'South' initiative are preparing to hold a series of workshops in September and October to help southern business and tourism operators become more aware of opportunities offered by the China travel market.

'South' is an initiative facilitated by Christchurch Airport, in conjunction with the 13 Regional Tourism Organisations, to collectively promote the entire South Island as a tourism destination.

Manager of 'South', Dave Hawkey, says Christchurch Airport takes seriously its role as a leader in South Island tourism. 

" 'South' is a way to grow the tourism pie, so everyone gets a bigger slice and understanding the opportunities China's travellers offer is part of that," says Mr Hawkey.

"We are working with Occam Consulting, a firm which specialises in assisting Westerners to work with China and vice versa. The firm has already delivered and developed the Tourism New Zealand Roadshow sessions and the highly successful 'China Business' training programme to more than 1000 Kiwi business people."

"Becoming China Ready" workshops will be offered in Christchurch, Hanmer Springs, Kaikoura, Blenheim, Nelson, Greymouth, Franz Joseph, Wanaka, Queenstown, Alexandra, Te Anau, Invercargill, Dunedin, Cromwell, Omarama, Timaru, Tekapo, Akaroa and Methven.

Dave Hawkey says Chinese travellers now make up the second biggest number of travellers into New Zealand. 

"That market will definitely grow, so it is timely that we assist businesses in the South Island to make the most of the opportunity. The South Island has what these travellers want to see - mountains, lakes, glaciers, wide open spaces, big blue skies - and travellers come looking for the places they see in the travel brochures. At the moment, the South Island only sees 25% of Chinese arrivals into New Zealand, but it is inevitable that more will come south.

Mr Hawkey says the free independent traveller segment of the market is also beginning to explore areas off the beaten track and seeking South Island places to do that.

Christchurch Airport itself is continuing to become China ready. It recently introduced multi-lingual signage into the terminal, as its own way to ensure visitors from Japan, Korean and China felt welcomed to the South Island.

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