Direct China to Christchurch flights will boost tourism in
Otago, Tourism Dunedin chief executive Hamish Saxton says.
The first charter flight by China Southern Airlines into
Christchurch landed yesterday.
It was the first commercial flight of a B787 Dreamliner to
Christchurch, and delivered 228 passengers direct from
Christchurch International Airport chief executive Malcolm
Johns said it was part of an initiative aimed at building
international arrivals from China to New Zealand via
Christchurch, benefiting all the South Island.
''Over the past couple of years, the number of Chinese
visiting the South Island has grown substantially,'' he said.
In the past year, there was a 72% increase in Chinese tourism
expenditure in the South Island.
Mr Saxton said Chinese flying directly to Christchurch were
more likely to spend longer in the South Island, visit more
places and spend more money.
Many Chinese tourists were opting to drive themselves around
the South Island, rather than join coach tours, which meant
they were visiting smaller and more remote parts of the
country, he said.
Mr Saxton was in Christchurch yesterday for a meeting to
coincide with the Guangzhou flight.
Tourism Dunedin and other regional tourism organisations from
the South Island were part of the Christchurch airport's
initiative called South, which aimed to boost international
visitors to the South Island.
China Southern Airlines general manager, New Zealand, Mike Ma
said Christchurch served as a gateway to the South Island.
The Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand said China
had quickly grown to be the country's second largest source
of international visitors, after Australia.