Hotel predicted to drive Chinese tourism boom

Chong Qing City Municipal Administration deputy/vice-director and Chong Qing City Travel Media Ltd chairman Yi Min Sun in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Peter Macintosh.
Chong Qing City Municipal Administration deputy/vice-director and Chong Qing City Travel Media Ltd chairman Yi Min Sun in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Peter Macintosh.
A top Chinese businessman and tourism leader has signalled a flood of economic growth worth up to $64 million for Dunedin as a result of a predicted boom in Chinese tourism to the city.

Chong Qing City Municipal Administration deputy/vice-director and Chong Qing City Travel Media Ltd chairman Yi Min Sun is in Dunedin for two days to discuss building business relationships between China and New Zealand, and the opportunities for substantial growth in visitor numbers to Dunedin.

Through an interpreter yesterday, Mr Sun said Chong Qing, in southwest China, was home to an estimated 32 million people and had been described as the world's fastest growing city.

Chinese tourists were mostly "white-collar businessmen and their families" who could spend up to $10,000 while visiting Dunedin.

Even if 1% or 2% of the city's population visited Dunedin, it could create millions for the economy, he said.

"Dunedin is a fascinating place where east meets west.

"You have the Scottish culture, colonial architecture, Baldwin St, you have beautiful sea views, the peninsula, wildlife and Forsyth Barr Stadium.

"You also have a clear ancestral link created by Chinese goldminers.

"The historical footprints of China are clear in Dunedin."

Mr Sun met representatives from Betterways Advisory Ltd yesterday, the company behind a proposed waterfront hotel which he believes will be one of the factors encouraging tourists to the city.

"With the development of the Chinese economy and the increase in personal income, most white-collar Chinese tourists tend to choose to stay in five-star hotels such as Marriott or Hilton.

"They want to treat themselves.

"I believe more Chinese tourists who want to travel around the South Island would be attracted to Dunedin if there was a five-star hotel here, if regional government and tourism authorities were able to package and promote South Island coastal tourism routes, and direct flights from Sydney were packaged and promoted more."

Mr Sun said his visit to Dunedin was also aimed at investigating business and trade opportunities.

He said Chong Qing was an industrial city producing large quantities of cars and electronic goods such as laptops.

Because of Dunedin's close proximity to a sea port - Port of Otago - there were a lot of aspects of both cities that could work together, he said.

Mr Sun plans to return to Chong Qing tomorrow to promote Dunedin's attractions and business opportunities.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

Wake up Dunedin

Dunedin, Let us all get away from this notion that someone from "outside" is going to give us money and fix our financial problems because they care about us.
For too long we have been promoting the idea of economic profit as the way to maintain our city, so much so that we have dug ourselves into a very deep hole. Now is the time for us to choose wise and calm leaders who respect the people in the community and work to represent them as much as the city.
The people who really spend money in Dunedin are the private travellers that come here for a specific purpose. They may stay in backpackers, hotels, motels and B&B's, most locally owned. A lot of these travellers mix in the community, eat out and cook for themselves.
In terms of cashflow the humble tourists actually spends far more money directly in the community as opposed to the high flyer five star dweller. It is questionable that these travellers will keep coming here if we build a glass monster. [Abridged]

Treat the rich the same?

So tax them at 14c in the dollar too?

You're onto it

At last, someone who can see what the proposed hotel is all about. The phenomenon of large overseas travel organisations making use of exotic (to them), destinations to ensure that riches generated as a result of tourism remain as much as possible 'at-home', does a lot for ports such as Hamburg and Rotterdam (using a 'Cruise-Ship' analogy), but not as much as is supposed for local economies, upon which the operations are parasitic.

People become mesmerised, like rabbits caught in the beams of headlights with the 'numbers' cluttering up the centre of our city, without any consideration of what the 'bottom-line' is for Dunedin. This hotel will, if if is built, be nothing more than a 'cruise-ship' permanently anchored on a site overlooking our harbour basin, assuring exclusive use of the 'views' for punters whose largesse will remain largely in their own own countries and compromising, in some way, almost everyone else's views of the city, if not by actively blocking it, by putting an eyesore right in the middle of it.

 

More ideas for Dunedin

I guess as a so called "naysayer or negative type" I would like to reply to some of the short sighted or narrow minded comments regarding opinions on this proposed hotel. Firstly, a couple of years ago I took one day off work to make in person my submission supporting the new Mecure hotel extension in Manse St because I heard people who simply didn't want this proposed building due to self interest i.e they decided they wanted to live in the cbd.

This project has so far still not eventuated and one has to wonder why, this is also true of the kiwi developer renovating the old post office building.

Looking at this proposed hotel the developers have not taken any account of Dunedin, its people and its enviroment. The people have the right to slam this door shut.

Here are my ideas

1 The university should pay rates like everyone else

2 The rich should be treated exactly the same as everyone else and put "their" money where their mouth is, this shows faith and a belief in Dunedin

3 The people utilising their demacratic right to create the city that they want, increasing good well paying jobs while bringing ecomomic growth to the region. It's not like we don't have the resources

Ideas for the city

I too have detected the "whiff of bigotry" in some of the postings on the hotel topic. "We don't want out-of-towners investing in our fair city", or words to that effect. 

Now the ironic thing is that, if a local wealthy businessman / woman was looking to provide the same investment in the same project, the usual suspects would be accusing the local investor of getting sweet zoning/rating deals from the council, etc, etc.  "And all the profits would be shipped off to build another house in Queenstown/Wanaka", yada yada.

Anyway, I have some ideas for the city, in no particular order.

(1) The University should be closed immediately - rates bludgers you see
(2) All wealthy Dunedinites should be forcibly exiled from the city - they only got that way 'coz they had contacts on the council, and have been able to rip off the rate-payers
(3) The remaining citizens should then be left to enjoy a blissful (if somewhat subsistent) existence - there will be plenty of seafood to forage, vege gardens to cultivate, and tumbleweeds to dodge.

Market research

I would think a project of this size would have considerable market research done to ensure that profits were going to made and benefits found, not just for the owners of the hotel but for the local community.
Has that research been done, or - like another project in the city - is it all made out of wishes and candy?

 

Saying no to $100m?

IWAS:  I am puzzled, to say the least, at your way of thinking.

Firstly, the hotel itself is going to cost $100 million to build - that means $100 million of materials, labour, and associated services - much of which will be provided by Dunedin/Otago businesses.  So for a start you are saying no to at least $100 million for NZ, some of that for Dunedin.

Secondly, out of the around 100 jobs at the hotel, very few will go to "youth on minumum wages"  Many hotel jobs are at least semi-skilled, and so this provides training opportunities etc.  Besides, do you have a problem with youths getting jobs?  You seem to.

Thirdly, of course having an amazing 5-star hotel will bring in extra money to Dunedin!  Who stays in 5 star hotels?  Mainly higher income people.  Who have more expendable income to spend on tours, retail, food/liquor?  Higher income people.

Lastly, the fact a dozen or so of the usual suspects post negative comments on here, and the fact a few hundred out of over 100,000 residents put in  submissions against the hotel, means virtually nothing.  Most business savy and positive people are in favour of the hotel, albeit with some aesthetic changes.[Abridged]

Back it up with fact

IWAS: You (and Ian Smith) have just highlighted exactly what is wrong with this city, or perhaps I should say, a small minority.
"We don't need out-of-towners and elite zealots wrecking our city".
Half the investment in this city is offshore, yet you have really just indicated to the rest of us your beef is in fact that it is Chinese money. If you don't want Chinese or 'overseas' investment, tell me which local businessman or company is going to cough up that sort of money.
I suggest you do some research, too. Chinese tourists are not just interested in the casino. Whilst they enjoy it, the Chinese traveller is in fact changing and its a younger, semi FIT market coming - they are not doing it through tours.
Finally, you say there are "more people on this forum saying no to the proposed hotel". It's because only those that have negative things to say ever speak up. Most are indifferent. Don't assume because a handful of you make the same comments over and over that it reflects the entire city. Nor does just 500 odd that make submissions.

GW Scam: Your comments are filled with generalisations and are not backed up by facts.[Abridged]

 

 

Hotel

GW Scam: There have been more people on this forum saying 'no' to the proposed hotel, let alone the overwhelming majority that responded to the DCC. You are entitled to your opinions, but that is all they are.
This is no time to indulge in fantasy. This hotel will ruin Dunedin if it is built. There will not be millions coming in. The only jobs it will create are low paid service jobs, and they will go to young people because of Mr Key pushing for lower youth pay.
The carrot that is being hung is: "If a five star hotel is built millions of Chinese will come and spend lots of money." This is so wrong, because this hotel is going to sow up all the major expenses from the beginning.
The Chinese tourist will pay a lump sum in China to take a tour. They will come here, eat and sleep in the hotel and hit the casino. They will not spend millions as they all travel in large controlled groups that never waver from the tight schedules they follow.
Dunedin is a great place, and it always has been. Let's keep it this way. We don't need out-of-towners and elite zealots wrecking our city and taking all the profit away. [Abridged]

 

For and against

I notice GW_Scam is still plucking percentage points out of the air. Not long ago it was 'about 90%' and now it's 'at least '70%'. No ambivalent people then?  And never mind the fact here are more than five times the number against this resource consent than any previous one. Public opposition is more than usually vocal because it's more than usually widespread.

Two points

Firstly, I do not think that Dunedin people by and large, are against extra five-star accommodation being available in Dunedin. They are against this accommodation being provided by overseas interests, under circumstances where we would be well advised to keep control of our own destiny and not deliver it on a plate to overseas capital.
Secondly, they are against this particular edifice, on this site, as it seems obvious that it will be out of character, out of context and a piece of generic Asian architectural bling inflicted upon the city.
As for the lack of progress, 'the majority of right-thinking people are for it' and so on, it's the old 'silent majority' myth doing the rounds again. And just look to Awatea Street, to see what it accomplished for us on its last airing. [Abridged]

 

Who are those saying 'No'?

Comments like those from 'IWAS' try and give the perception that "the people say no" - I would love to know who these "people" are.

Are they the elderly retired people who are well off, and have no interest in anything providing jobs to the dozens of people that this would provide jobs to? Are they mainly other hoteliers and moteliers that are worried they might lose some business?

Are they the same crowd that rolls out every time a business wants to grow Dunedin from being a 'ok sort of a place' to a thriving city with hope and huge future prospects?

Funny enough, some of these questions were answered last time I asked them with commenters admitting they were connected with other hotels and motels.  Others admitting they just want Dunedin to stay the same.

You call for a referendum, well good on you.  Unfortunately for you I think you will find at least 70% of "the people" will be in favour of the hotel.

[Abridged]

Ask a Chinese-born person

For the sake of balance, I wish the ODT would ask some Chinese-born people who lives in Dunedin now, who are not engaged in any part of the tourism/hospitality industry. 
People who still keep in touch with the folks back home would have a good idea of how much keener their family and friends would be on coming to Dunedin if there were a huge modern 5-star hotel.  I know how attractive it would appear to my overseas family and friends but I'm not Chinese. Cultures vary. 
I think it would be a weird reason to travel to a city, but I am prepared to be reliably informed that to a high proportion of Chinese my opinion is even weirder.  We're all weird to someone,. That's how we knew we weren't clones before scientists explained why we aren't.

Can't wait

Is this the same tourism boom that the casino was going to drive or is this a new one?

Nothing to see?

Well, he was hardly going to come here and say: "nah, there's nothing here of any interest. I'm off home".


He's photographed standing on the rooftop of Rodgers House.  If the hotel were to be built and he turned to the south-east, then he could quite eaisly say "Nothing to see here" because there would... be nothing to see.  He'd be blinded by a giant wall of glass. 

The hotel

Stevepf: Perhaps they will have more to say than than the suck-it-up-and-take-the-cash brigade have had to say about the DCC's own report recommending against this development.
It's simplistic and wrong to label opponents 'anti-progress'. Many probably have a high tolerance for acontextual development and would not be very prescriptive in what they think developers should do with their money.
The height of this hotel, however, makes it so acontextual as to be ridiculously out of place, which the planner's report recognises. Rules should be bendable - but only so far. All it needs is to be shaped like the proverbial finger - just to emphasise the statement it will make.
Interestingly, Yi Min Sun praises the 'beautiful sea views' which from many places would be spoilt by this edifice. I suppose they won't be spoilt it you are inside the hotel - only if you have to look at it.

No means no

The people say "No". The council says "No". Which part of this two letter word is not clear? If they keep pushing for this hotel, we should respond by initiating a referendum. After all, we are a democracy, are we not? 

Mr Sun

Well, he was hardly going to come here and say: "nah, there's nothing here of any interest. I'm off home".
Since when does he represent our best interests?
However, the same people, all too easily swayed by the next "smiling suit", want to go charging over the cliff once more.
Just for once, how about we build something that's (a) appropriate for our city's size and existing architecture, and (b) is based on economic reality. Look how fickle the cruise ships can be. Tourism is not the future on which to expand Dunedin. 

No way - go away

We dont want your money here. We love job losses, run-down buildings, stagnation, and minority rule! Besides, our construction industry is busy doing......oh nothing, and it's dying for work.

Dunedin needs sustainable development

The whole point of sustainable development is looking at the long term.  China has a growing population, a shortage of food-growing land and also a shortage of  raw materials for its high volume industrial production. It's reasonable to wonder how long the rise of the new wealthy middle-class will last and whether there's any market elsewhere for luxury hotel acommodation, considering the current serious structural global economic problems.

A focus on the positive

A great article, finally focusing on the positives we all knew would come about from this project ... I can't wait to hear what the anti-progressive league have to say about this!

The experts say Yes, other say No

Again we have ample evidence from experts that Dunedin desperately needs the H\hotel if it is to move ahead with huge growth in employment and it's general economy.

Yet - we will still have the same old same olds saying 'No, go away - we just like being stagnant'. 

I strongly suggest the Council uses its head and listens to the experts and looks ahead, rather than listening to the small number of negative residents who seem to only enjoy going backwards. 

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