Shotover Jet staff (from left) Shaz Skelton, Tomika Terry,
Jessica Barlow, and Linda Coultrip model the company's
Chinese new year T-shirts, created specifically for Chinese
visitors to the operation over their festive period. Photo
Shotover Jet is going the extra mile to say ''huan ying''
(Mandarin for welcome) to Chinese visitors in Queenstown
celebrating the Year of the Snake.
The company is celebrating Chinese New Year - also known as
the Spring Festival - with a new souvenir T-shirt.
The T-shirt incorporates the snake in both the year and the
''snaking ride'' of Shotover Jet through the Shotover River
Chinese new year celebrations start on Sunday - the first day
of the first Chinese month - and culminate in the Festival of
Lanterns, which is on the 15th day and is the most important
festival for Chinese people.
Shotover Jet marketing manager Nigel Kerr said the production
of the T-shirts and celebration of all things Chinese
reflected the growing importance of China to Queenstown over
''We can't really predict the numbers for this Chinese New
Year, but we can say that we have seen consistent growth year
on year at this time of year over the past three or four
''We're definitely seeing more `mono-destinational' Chinese
visitors, which means they're coming only to New Zealand
rather than going to Australia and New Zealand in one trip.
''As a direct result we're definitely seeing a strong
increase in numbers, because previously where they might have
travelled to Australia and only had time for a few days in
the North Island, they're now exploring the South Island too.
''Because the Chinese tend to be quite structured in their
holidays, we're seeing a large amount of them in a very short
timeframe, a serious influx of Chinese visitors to both
Shotover Jet and its sister business Dart River Jet Safaris
over the next two weeks,'' Mr Kerr said.
The Shotover Jet base building had been decorated with
Chinese lanterns for the duration of the Spring Festival, and
Chinese-speaking staff were on hand to help groups.