Chinese tourists are being duped by unlicensed tour and transport operators who offer services at "unrealistically cheap" prices, local Chinese tourism operators here claim.

About 20 operators gathered in Three Kings, Auckland, last Friday where some horror stories were shared.

They are planning to form an association and lodge formal complaints with the police and other authorities such as the NZ Transport Agency.

Tat Tsui, the group's spokesperson, said there has been a spike of advertisements on local and Chinese apps and websites by unlicensed individuals offering airport pick-ups for as low as $20 and tours for as little as $45 a day.


"Some Chinese tourists are told they are going to a farm but taken to see cows at Cornwall Park, and other tourists are have been hassled for loans by these rogue drivers during tours," Tsui said.

"The tourists don't make formal complaints, but they talk to others when they go back to China and it's giving New Zealand a bad name."

Tsui said he had already started talking to police about concerns the group had regarding tourist safety.

"Most of these unlicensed operators are international students from China who think they can make a buck because they are driving a car," he said.

"The customers don't know what state their car is in, and they don't know anything about the background of the people taking them around."

He said the group is concerned about a lack of regulations governing the industry.

Tourism New Zealand is urging visitors to report any operators that did not meet quality standards.

A spokeswoman said: "New Zealand offers a range of quality tourism operations.


"We encourage visitors and Kiwis alike to do their due diligence when selecting a service and to report any that aren't meeting standards."

A group of Chinese tourists in 2013 was promised by a rogue operator an itinerary which included a grand Christmas buffet and cultural show, farm park with farm shows, wildlife reserve and a spa in Rotorua.

What they got was an Auckland City Mission charity Christmas lunch, visit to the free Council-run Ambury Farm Park, Western Springs reserve and a visit to Rotorua's public Kuirau Park and a soak at its free foot bath.

Tsui said the situation had "gotten worse" since and many Chinese tourists continue to be "conned".

"Many of the advertisements are placed on China-based apps, and there is little we can do because we can't control them with New Zealand laws," he said.

Lily Li, director of Sheng Xin International - a tour and transport company based in Mt Albert - found about 670 advertisers on Chinese app offering New Zealand tour services.


But she believed that less than 20 per cent of those are licensed operators.

Li said her business, and many of the contract drivers, have been hit hard by these unlicensed operators.

"You can tell from the unrealistically cheap prices they advertise that they are unlicensed operators," Li said.

"It is not possible to even cover cost if we charge $20 airport for airport pickups to anywhere in Auckland."

There were 3.79 million arrivals for the year ended June 2018, up 138,700 (3.8 per cent) from the year ended June 2017.

Last month, Asia was the only region to see a rise in visitor arrivals to New Zealand.


Tourists from China saw the largest increase, up 1200 or 7 per cent when compared with June last year.