More Chinese visitors heading south

The South Island has welcomed an increasing number of Chinese travellers in the weeks since implementation of a new Chinese law.

The new China travel law came into effect on 1 October, effectively requiring travel sellers in China to offer better quality, and so more expensive, group tour packages both domestically and internationally.

Christchurch Airport CEO Jim Boult says Chinese travellers who want to travel around the South Island are high-value visitors who spend more time and money while they're here.

"It's a fact that Chinese travellers are lured to New Zealand by images of the South Island. This island is very much the driver for Chinese visitors to New Zealand, but in the past, only 20 per cent of Chinese visitors to New Zealand made it this far south," says Mr Boult.

"In the seven weeks since the new policy came into effect, the number of Chinese travellers coming into Christchurch Airport is up 27%. These are tourists who want to see and do what we offer on the Mainland. They want to take their time to see and experience it all."

Statistics New Zealand shows Chinese visitor arrivals to Christchurch in October were up 42% on last year, while total Chinese visitors to Auckland and the rest of New Zealand were down 12% on the same time. Preliminary figures for Chinese arrivals into Christchurch Airport in the first three weeks of November show 9% growth on last year.

"Research shows Chinese visitors to the South Island spend an average 3400 NZ dollars per visit. Their total expenditure in New Zealand is 737 million dollars a year," says Mr Boult.

"Put simply, Chinese visitors coming to the South Island are good for the whole country."

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