New partnership to grow Chinese tourism in NZ

Christchurch Airport and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) have signed a memorandum of understanding which will help New Zealand businesses tap into Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba.

The MOU will see the parties work together to help small to medium sized Kiwi businesses from both regions sell products and services to hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers who use the range of digital platforms owned by the e-commerce giant.

Christchurch Airport's Chief Aeronautical and Commercial Officer Justin Watson says the MOU is unique and has enormous potential.

"This is a great example of two large organisations - at either end of the country - working together to grow New Zealand's collective tourism and export success. In short, the MOU will enable kiwi businesses to connect and do business with the record number of Chinese visitors coming to New Zealand - before, during and after their trip.

The MOU will focus on three key areas - growing Chinese visitors' spend in New Zealand via Alipay, growing bookings via online travel store Fliggy and encouraging micro-exporting opportunities through Tmall.

ATEED General Manager Destination, Steve Armitage says "China is a key market for Auckland's visitor economy. This partnership will help make the Auckland region more accessible and appealing to these high-value visitors.

"As Auckland's economic growth and tourism promotion agency, this presents a fantastic opportunity for ATEED to help Auckland businesses gain access into the Chinese market. It will also make it easier for Chinese visitors to pre-book travel to Auckland, and utilise the platform for purchases when they are here."

Already, the Airport's world-first partnership with Alibaba has seen more than 3,000 business express an interest in becoming Alipay merchants. The next phases of the project will see the Airport, through its 'South' brand, launch stores on Fliggy and Tmall.

Justin Watson expects the new MOU will spark significant interest from businesses in and around greater Auckland.

"Alipay has 520 million Chinese users, Fliggy has 220 million members and Tmall Global has more than 515 million … this presents a huge opportunity for kiwi businesses."

Justin Watson says the Christchurch Airport-led project makes it easy for kiwi businesses to sign up and take advantage of this, even translating marketing materials.

"This is about using the power of the internet to make it easier for New Zealand businesses, of all sizes, to do business internationally. The potential is huge and we are
incredibly proud to be working alongside ATEED and creating this opportunity
for our place in the world."