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18 Aug 2017

New opportunities and new horizons for tourism operators

Four more South Island tourism companies have today been named as recipients of the 'New Horizons Fund' support programme to help them make the most of opportunities from the rapidly growing China market.

The 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 markets. Successful 'New Horizons Fund' recipients each receive assistance with product development, marketing materials and travel, valued at $25,000.

Chief Aeronautical and Commercial Officer Justin Watson says the applicants for the 2018 'New Horizons Fund' programme were impressive, not just for the quality of the applications but also for the variety of small and large businesses expressing interest.

"The number of larger company applicants is particularly heartening because we've not seen a lot of larger companies applying in the past," he says. "It seems these companies understand the airport is totally collaborative in the way it works with 'New Horizons' recipients and past recipients have been enthusiastic about the great results they are seeing.

"While the fund specifies a year's activity with the airport company, past recipients continue to be very actively involved in the "South" programme. It is great to see past recipients making the most of these opportunities to enable them to get the most from their work with us."

The latest recipients are:

  • Encounter Kaikoura - offering dolphin and albatross encounters. This company had been identified as a recipient prior to the Kaikoura quakes, and is now in a position to be able to make the most of the opportunity.
  • Mt Cook Glacier Guiding - spectacular views from the air over NZ's biggest mountain Aoraki Mt Cook, on the way to hiking, snow-shoeing or ice climbing on the Mt Cook Glacier.
  • KiwiRail : Great Journeys of New Zealand - offering Chinese visitors the opportunity to travel on any or all of the four great journeys offered by KiwiRail, to spread visitors across the South Island.
  • Black Cat Cruises -  operating out of Akaroa and Lyttleton harbours to offer wildlife cruises including encounters with the rare NZ Hector's Dolphin, penguins and sea birds.

Justin Watson says the recipients coincidentally show a spread across the South Island and will underline the airport company's commitment to disperse Chinese visitors across the widest possible area.

"That dispersal not only shares and spreads the economic benefit, but also offers a wider experience for our overseas visitors, so is definitely a win-win."

- Justin Watson, Chief Aeronautical and Commercial Officer

"We are especially pleased to be able to work with KiwiRail. This offers market opportunity on a large scale, with very positive possibilities for the entire South Island.

"We are also pleased to see Encounter Kaikoura in a position to take up the opportunity now and look forward to adding them into our trade missions and 'New Horizons Fund' work."