New face of Chinese tourism

By Lawrence Gullery

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Independent Chinese travellers coming to New Zealand want to visit farms, cultural attractions, gardens, geothermal scenery and shopping casinos.

Tourism New Zealand was developing a plan to prepare the country for the projected increase in Chinese visitors and it included an avenue for Hawke's Bay to learn how it could fit into the mix.

The International Tourism Board's trends report said the Chinese travel market comprised young professionals with high incomes. They demanded high quality services, moving from traditional tour groups to individual travel experiences.

"The new Chinese tourist are digital natives, high users of the internet, mobile technology and social media."

Chinese visitors wanted to take in sites of historical revolutionary significance such as battle sites, birth places and former homes of key figures. They were also interested in eco rural, adventure and agri tourism as well as "inner journeys" experiencing health and wellness tourism involving exercise and stress reduction.

China had jumped to become New Zealand's second largest tourist market recording a 37 per cent increase in expenditure over the past year, prompting a bigger focus on its outward visitor market by New Zealand tourism agencies.

Tourism New Zealand project Chinese visitor arrivals would hit 240,000 by 2014, up from 100,000 recorded in 2009. Chinese visitors made an economic contribution of $362 million in 2010 and the goal was to increase it to $579 million by 2015.

Hawke's Bay Tourism's general manager Annie Dundas presented to the Hastings District Council and said the organisation was in the throws of writing a tourism development plan for China.

It would be in conjunction with efforts from Tourism New Zealand, which planned the Kiwi Link Greater China, a trade training event for travel companies, to be held in Shanghai, October 22 to 24.

"It will be a chance to test the water and learn, understand the Chinese market, develop key relationships with Chinese tourism market operators," Ms Dundas said.

"One of the issues is product and the types which fit the market. There is also a lot of work being done around language and translation."

Ms Dundas said research showed Chinese visitors often stayed in New Zealand for 16 days and did not want to go on five hour winery tours, for example.

"But they like one-hour condensed versions and we will have to look at ways we can accommodate that. In talking to Tourism New Zealand, about 30 per cent of the market is in semi independent, looking for places off the beaten track."


- Hawkes Bay Today

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