More than a thousand business people from Nelson to Invercargill
are already seeing benefits of recent training in working with
During October, business and tourism operators attended workshops
called "Becoming China Ready" being offered through 'South', the
Christchurch Airport-led initiative which promotes the South Island
as a tourism destination.
Airport CEO Jim Boult says the 20 workshops covered everything
from why China is important to New Zealand and ways to facilitate
better business interaction, to tips on business behaviour and
"We held workshops in 20 different centres and all attendees have
been overwhelmingly positive," says Mr Boult. "They know
Chinese travellers make up the second biggest number of travellers
into New Zealand and so keeping the travellers' needs and
preferences in mind will benefit the whole South Island."
Tourism West Coast chief executive Jim Little says he's already
hearing success stories from the workshops. "One Franz Josef
motelier had their website translated into Chinese at a significant
cost, but reports it paid for itself within 48 hours," he
says. "A major Hokitika retailer has all staff learning
Chinese phrases and is already seeing it paying dividends."
Destination Marlborough general manager Tracy Johnston agrees.
"I've had nothing but positive feedback to the workshops, with
operators saying it is one of the best they've ever attended," she
says. "Some have told me their only regret is not sending every