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Chinese visitors boost tourism numbers

May 4th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, News

THERE has been a 23.7% jump in Chinese tourists coming to New Zealand since March last year, but cities like the Wellington are missing out.

Visitors from China showed the biggest yearly increase of any nationality, rising from 129,564 to 160,268 says Statistics New Zealand’s international travel and migration report released this week.

The increase is illustrated in the Chinese visitor numbers for the month of March – 10,530 arrived in March 201,1  compared to 19,200 in the same month this year (up 82.3%).

The quarterly figures rose from 43,080 in 2011 to 57,824  in 2012 (up 32.4%).

New flights by China Southern Airlines, from Guangzhou direct to Auckland, are the main reason for the increase, says Bevan Wait, senior insights analyst from Tourism New Zealand.

“This has created a really big change, because it’s opened up a lot of flights, meaning more people can fly to New Zealand,” Mr Wait says.

Businesses in the tourism and hospitality industry around New Zealand are catering to their needs.

Rotorua Museum has experienced an annual growth of 16% in Chinese visitors.

“We are definitely noticing the higher numbers,” says Wallace Te Ahuru of the Rotorua Museum.

“We cater to the Chinese market’s needs by having Chinese interpreters and an introduction to the museum for all the Chinese visitors,” says Mr Te Ahuru.

Although the major tourism venues in New Zealand such as Auckland, Rotorua, Queenstown and Christchurch have seen this increase, other cities remain relatively uneffected.

Most Chinese visitors to New Zealand are concentrated around the main travel gateways such as Auckland and Christchurch due to the international airports.

Tourism New Zealand’s latest statistics show the average length of stay for the Chinese market is 6.1 days, considerably shorter than other markets such as the United Kingdom, whose average stay is 28.2 days.

This means cities such as Wellington experience few short-term visitors like the Chinese market, says a spokesperson from the visitor and market research team at Te Papa.

“The lack of direct air capacity, particularly into Wellington is a barrier to the fast growth that some areas of NZ receive.”

Tourism New Zealand hopes to continue to increase the Chinese markets’ length of stay, says Mr Wait.

New Zealand has also seen a shift in other Asian tourism markets.

Malaysia has become a growing tourism market with a 73 percent increase in arrivals from 22,206 to 38,396.

Statistics New Zealand’s report says the growth is due to new Kuala Lumpur to Christchurch flights, although these flights are due to stop at the end of this month.

However, not all Asian markets have experienced growth.

Visits from Japan have dropped 23.8% due to Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11 2011.

However, in March 2012, the number of visitors coming from Japan rose 21%, the first time since the earthquakes.

There were 2.618 million visitor arrivals to New Zealand in the March 2012 year, an overall increase of 4 per cent.

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is a Whitireia journalism student.
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