More than a thousand businesspeople from Nelson to Invercargill
are already seeing benefits of recent training in working with
Over the past month, business and tourism operators have
attended workshops called "Becoming China Ready". The interactive
workshops are being offered through 'South', the Christchurch
Airport-led initiative which promotes the South Island as a tourism
Manager of 'South', Dave Hawkey, says the
workshops have covered everything from why China is important to
New Zealand and ways to facilitate better business interaction, to
tips on business behaviour and etiquette.
"We are working with Occam Consulting, a firm
which specialises in assisting Westerners to work with China and
vice versa," says Mr Hawkey. "We've held workshops in 20
different centres so far and all attendees have been overwhelmingly
"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
Christchurch Airport CEO Jim Boult says the
China travel market has changed in recent years.
"Chinese travellers have "discovered" the South
Island and want to spend more time here, travel more comfortably,
see our iconic scenery and experience the various offerings," he
says. "These travellers are looking for a quality southern
experience, so operators want to understand how to make that the
best it can be."
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
"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 staff member."
Jim Boult has no doubt the number of Chinese
travellers coming south will grow.
"The South Island has what these travellers want
to see - mountains, lakes, glaciers, wide open spaces, big blue
skies - and travellers come looking for the places they see in the
travel brochures. At the moment, the South Island only sees 25% of
Chinese arrivals into New Zealand, but more are coming south."
He says more are also beginning to explore areas
off the beaten track and seeking South Island places to do