Three grants for South Islanders doing business with China

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 markets.


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 Island.


"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 places.


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 December.


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.

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