Associate Tourism Minister and Rotorua MP Todd McClay will host a Chinese business group at the Redwood Forest today to showcase Rotorua as a business event destination.

"The Chinese group are part of a familiarisation programme organised by Tourism New Zealand to promote our city as a prime destination to host major business events," Mr McClay said.

In recent years the Redwood Forest had undergone major transformations and had become known as a "wow factor" event venue, so it was a perfect place to host this event, he said.

Local businesses Event Impressions and the Blue Baths would provide the lighting, effects and catering.


Mr McClay said he would take the opportunity to discuss forming closer ties between Rotorua and international businesses in a bid to draw in major events.

"Rotorua makes up a significant component of New Zealand's tourism sector.

"Tourism is worth $500million to the Rotorua economy each year and it's our largest employer.

"Chinese tourism is particularly important. It's our third-largest market with thousands of visitors arriving in Rotorua from China each year. In 2013, China became New Zealand's second-largest and fastest-growing source market, overtaking the UK and the US, with rapid growth in arrivals.

"In the year to November 2013, there were over 231,000 Chinese visitors to New Zealand. In the year to September 2013, Chinese visitors spent $737million.

"There is much opportunity here for Rotorua businesses and as local MP I'll continue to work closely with industry to enhance our attractiveness as not only a tourist town, but an event and venue destination," Mr McClay said.