Actress Yao Chen and Cao Yu with the Right Rev Dr David
Coles in St Peter's Church in Queenstown during their
marriage ceremony. Photo by News.CN
A popular Chinese actress' Kiwi wedding in Queenstown
could turn New Zealand into the number one wedding destination
for the Chinese, says an airline official.
The South Island wedding of 2010 Golden Eagle best actress
Yao Chen to her photographer husband Cao Yu in the South
Island town has been reported more than 2.4 million times on
various Chinese news sites and portals, and more than 110,000
were also discussing it on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to
The My Own Swordsman star, who is also Tourism New Zealand's
brand ambassador for China, holds the record of having the
highest number of followers on Weibo, with more than 26
She posted photos of her wedding and activities she had done
in and around Queenstown on Weibo, sparking wide interest and
comments on New Zealand as a holiday destination.
The 33-year-old star is the third most followed micro-blogger
in the world after Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, and is ahead
of President Barack Obama.
Chinese media reported that Yao Chen spent about 1 million
yuan, or about $200,000, on her Queenstown wedding, to which
she invited only a few dozen friends and relatives.
The first pictures were released on Saturday afternoon
through her microblog, and the ceremony at St Peter's Church
was described as simple, solemn and warm.
"Getting married overseas is becoming increasingly popular
among the younger Chinese, and Yao Chen's posts show New
Zealand as the perfect scenic place for them to do that,"
said Sarah Xu, of China Southern Airlines.
"Millions in China are talking about her wedding, and I am
sure New Zealand could become the number one choice for many
Chinese couples who want an overseas wedding."
The airline, China's largest, will be bringing between 250
and 300 travel agents to Auckland next month for its annual
general meeting, where it will discuss ways to promote the
region, including as a wedding destination. Destination
Queenstown chief executive Graham Budd
said the wedding sparked a media frenzy in China, and had
boosted New Zealand's and Queenstown's profile significantly
"We're thrilled they chose to get married in Queenstown and
enjoy some unique and memorable experiences here," Mr Budd
Tourism New Zealand spokeswoman Emma Carter said between
30,000 and 40,000 tourists came to New Zealand to get married
or for a honeymoon last year, spending about $130 million.
"Their average expenditure is around $3800 each ... which is
quite a high spend per person. The average tourist spends
$2300," she said.
26m fans on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter/Facebook
2.4m reports in China, including portals like Sina, Sohu and
Ifeng about her wedding
110,000 talked about her wedding on Weibo
Source: Chinese media, Tourism NZ