Law encourages Chinese travel

The South Island has welcomed an increasing number of Chinese travellers in the weeks since implementation of a new Chinese law, Christchurch Airport's chief says.

The new China travel law came into effect on October 1, effectively requiring travel sellers in China to offer better-quality, and so more expensive, group tour packages both domestically and internationally.

Christchurch Airport chief executive Jim Boult, of Lake Hayes, said Chinese tourists who want to travel around the South Island are high-value visitors.

''It's a fact that Chinese travellers are lured to New Zealand by images of the South Island.

''This island is very much the driver for Chinese visitors to New Zealand, but in the past, only 20% of Chinese visitors ...

made it this far south.

''In the seven weeks since the new policy came into effect, the number of Chinese travellers coming into Christchurch Airport is up 27%. These are tourists who want to see and do what we offer on the Mainland. They want to take their time to see and experience it all.

Statistics New Zealand shows Chinese visitor arrivals to Christchurch in October were up 42% on last year, while total Chinese visitors to Auckland and the rest of New Zealand were down 12% on the same time.