China Southern Airlines is to ramp up its flights between Guangzhou and Christchurch over the summer, with flights stepping up to five times per week, from three times, and then daily for just over a month between January 15 and Feburary 17.

The service will operate five times a week from December 12. The airline was the first Chinese airline to fly all year round to New Zealand, a service which began just under a year ago.

Christchurch Airport's chief aeronautical and commercial officer Justin Watson said the increased flights would provide a huge boost for the local economy.

"The extra flights represent an increase of more than 50 percent over the important summer season and have been announced a few days ahead of the first anniversary of the airline's direct service between mainland China and Christchurch," Watson said.

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Some 405,504 Chinese nationals visited New Zealand in the year to the end of September 2016, an increase of 23.7 percent. This is the most recent data available, after the Statistics New Zealand migration and visitor data for October 2016 was only published in an abbreviated form due to damage by the Kaikoura earthquake.