It just got easier for three
South Island companies to do business with China.
The first three grants have
been awarded from the "New Horizons Fund", started to help regional
South Island tourism operators capture the opportunities from the
growing China market.
The 'New Horizons Fund' is a
programme initiated by Christchurch Airport, as part of the "South"
initiative, which sees all South Island regional tourism
organisations working collaboratively in tourist
The airport's Chief
Commercial Officer - Aeronautical, Justin Watson, says the number
of applicants exceeded expectation, with a wide range of
applications of a very high standard and from all across the South
"Though we intended to fund
two applicants, we have decided to support three because of the
exciting cases they each put to us," he says.
"The first recipients are
Hanmer Springs China Cluster, Marlborough Tour Company and Ultimate
Wanaka, all of which will receive $20,000 to develop specific
products suited for the China market."
"The Hanmer Spring China
Cluster is a group of 11 companies working together with a focus on
the Chinese market and developing packages to promote the Hanmer
experience, which we know Chinese visitors enjoy.
"Marlborough Tour Company
promotes unique experiences throughout the Marlborough wine region
and the Marlborough Sounds, focussing on specialised wine and food
experiences in unique settings on land and on water.
"Ultimate Wanaka showcases
the untapped and glacial regions of Lake Wanaka and the Matukituki
Valley. The company has developed a range of helicopter, boat,
four-wheel drive and guided walking tours."
Mr Watson says the new
Horizons Fund was designed to grow the capabilities within the
regions of the South Island, to help local operators into the
growing market and build local capability to enhance the visitor
experience for our Chinese visitors.
He believes the programme
will improve the South Island product offering over time and
develop short and medium term business opportunities outside the
high traffic tourism areas of the South Island, so all regions
derive economic benefit from Chinese visitors reaching those
The possibilities for
visitors and exporters have this week been highlighted by the visit
from the President and CEO of China Southern Airlines, Tan Wang
Gong. Mr Tan made his first visit to the South Island to personally
sign documentation relating to the new year-round direct service
between Guangzhou and Christchurch, to begin this
Mr Watson says as well as the
three recipients, the airport company will in future work with six
other successful companies, who will work jointly with Christchurch
Airport over the next three years.