Plans to welcome more Chinese visitors to the South Island have
been boosted by today's Government funding for Christchurch
Airport's "Welcome China" project.
The airport has become New Zealand's fastest growing entry point
for Chinese visitors, with significant arrivals growth over the
past twelve months.
General Manager Airlines and Alliances, Matthew Findlay, says
the $270,000 investment in this market development work will
accelerate and complement the strategic work the airport is already
doing in conjunction with partners.
"In recent months, we have announced a partnership with GZL
International Travel Service Ltd, one of China's largest travel
agencies, to super-charge the growth in Chinese arrivals. This
partnership will see both partners develop a South Island
focused promotional campaign with South Island products to back
this up," he says.
"To support this beachhead in China for the South Island we have
completed a series of seminars helping South Island tourism
operators become what we describe as "China Ready". Plus in
February, we will see three further special direct flights from
China to Christchurch, operated by GZL and flown by China Southern
"The numbers of Chinese visitors to the South Island will
undoubtedly grow this summer with the increased flights coming into
Christchurch Airport. Many of them will use Singapore and East
Coast Australia as access hubs, because Christchurch has an
additional 80,000 airline seats from these hubs this year."
Statistics NZ data shows in the year to September 2014, Chinese
international arrivals into Christchurch increased by 37%, the
largest increase across the country (Auckland 1% growth and all of
New Zealand 3% growth.)
Overall, Chinese visitor arrivals into New Zealand increased by
8,040, with Christchurch accounting for 4,950 of them - 62% of the
Mr Findlay says the Government funding is very welcome, not
just for the airport but for the entire South Island, because 70%
of international visitors arriving through Christchurch Airport
visit other regions in the South Island.
"The South Island is 'Our Place in the World' and the place we
know visitors want to see. We are committed to being passionate
story tellers for the South Island, both here in New Zealand and on
the international stage.
"Statistics reveal that when international arrival numbers
increase at this airport, the whole South Island benefits. The
Government has recognised this with its comment that the funding
will improve visitor flows, support visitor recovery and therefore
contributions to the Canterbury region and the tourism industry.
We appreciate this vote of support from the Government and look
forward to delivering even more value to our city, region and the