The wisdom of Chinese proverbs is hard to argue with and one that has particular application to our community is this: Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.

New Zealand has just hosted China's President Xi Jinping, who wants his country's connection to expand, especially by way of people-to-people exchanges, saying the beauty of our landscape and kindness of our people had made strong impressions. Mr Xi is confident we will see more Chinese tourists heading our way.

Tourism in Wanganui has never had an easy road but lately it has shown it is prepared to adopt the insight of that Chinese proverb.

If every journey starts with one small step, then Visit Whanganui - the council organisation charged with promoting the district to tourists - has made a positive beginning. By doing something as simple as providing Chinese translations on the website, it is showing some smarts. Visit Whanganui's Lyn Cheyne came up with the idea because more Chinese visitors are including Wanganui in their itineraries.


Chinese tourists have tended to keep to the main destinations - Auckland, Rotorua and Queenstown - but that's changing. Visit Whanganui chair Eric Dorfman says the Chinese are heading to uncrowded and peaceful places - two boxes Wanganui ticks.

We take our pace of life and uncluttered landscape for granted, so for those living in Beijing (population 21 million) or Shanghai (24 million), coming here would be akin to landing on the Moon. With more Chinese travelling here independently, it's reasonable to suggest they are more likely to venture into regional NZ.