Christchurch Airport is ensuring Asian visitors feel welcome
through installing signage in English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean
- a first for any international airport in the country.
Christchurch Airport chief executive Jim Boult says the new
signs are part of on-going work to make the airport environment
even friendlier for international visitors.
"As a leader in the tourism industry, we've taken a proactive
approach to rolling out multi-lingual signage through our
terminal," says Mr Boult.
"Providing Chinese, Japanese and Korean language versions of our
signage throughout the airport reflects the changing nature of
tourism to Christchurch and the South Island," he says.
Mr Boult says the multi-lingual static and electronic displays
are part of a broader strategy to encourage greater engagement with
key visitor markets. Alongside business development initiatives for
the Asia Pacific region, airport staff will soon learn a few basic
phrases in other languages to help them communicate with a wider
range of visitors.
"This work reflects where future growth in visitor volumes to
this region will come from," he says. "We're seeing steadily
returning numbers from both Japan and South Korea, while the
Chinese market is growing significantly."
Christchurch Airport is the gateway for 81% of international
arrivals into the South Island, plus many more domestic arrivals
are international visitors. In the past year, of the international
and domestic travellers using Christchurch airport, about 80
thousand visitors arrived in Christchurch from China (an increase
of almost 20 per cent), almost 37-thousand visitors travelled from
Korea and more than 75-thousand from Japan. Last year's successful
Japanese charter programme and increases in Chinese and Korean
arrivals has seen on-going growth from Asian markets.
Mr Boult says the airport is working closely with the tourism
industry and several airline representatives in China, but believes
the market is yet to truly discover the South Island.
"We are just scratching the surface in terms of the market's
potential and know Asian visitors want to visit," he says. "The
feedback from visitors and the industry is excellent and underlines
that the South Island is the reason many Asian travellers visit New
While the multi-lingual signage is designed to make
international visitors feel more at home in the new airport
terminal, Jim Boult says Christchurch's growing Chinese and Korean
communities also appreciate the initiative.
"We're an increasingly diverse community in Christchurch, as
many people move here for education, business and employment,
particularly associated with the rebuild. New Kiwis with family
overseas find our welcoming gateway to their new home helps them
feel part of the community.
Mr Boult says he hopes the airport's new approach will be
embraced by the industry as a way of ensuring the region appeals to
key visitor markets.
"The Asia region is an increasingly important part of the future
for Christchurch and the South Island, for travel and tourism as
well as exports," says Jim Boult. "These markets have incredible
potential for our region and we all need to be doing everything we
can to ensure we appeal to and welcome them."
Airport staff are also signing up to personally welcome overseas
"Our staff across the airport campus collectively speak 19
different languages and have registered their language skills, so
they can be called on to assist travellers. It's just another way
we are working hard on bringing the world South."