Queenstown-based Canyoning.co.nz staff (from left) sales and marketing manager Julz Cools, frontline saleswoman Laura Palmieri and shop manager Mairi Stobbart present the custom-made Chinese New Year signs, decorations and Mandarin language brochures they have prepared in the Camp St outlet to entice the increasing numbers of Chinese visitors coming to the resort during the public holiday. Photo by James Beech.
Queenstown tourism operators are braced to welcome the next
major influx of visitors for Chinese New Year, between the
earlier dates of January 31 to February 9, but opinion is
split on whether the resort needs a Chinese festival.
The economic vitality and growing middle-class in the nation
of more than 1.35 billion people, coupled with increased
direct capacity by China Southern Airlines and Air New
Zealand, saw continued visitor growth to New Zealand in 2012
and into 2013.
There were 231,120 Chinese arrivals to the country in the
year ending November 2013, up 18.7% on the previous year.
Their average length of stay was 16.5 days. An average
Chinese visitor's spending was $3400, totalling $737 million
for the year ending September 2013, figures from Statistics
New Zealand and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and
Southern Lakes and South Island operators grouped together to
try to turn the trickle of Chinese visitors who venture
across the Cook Strait into a constant stream.
Destination Queenstown chief executive Graham Budd said
Chinese New Year had become a significant time in the year
because Chinese visitors were filling the resort's
accommodation at the traditional peak summer month of
''Queenstown, not only for New Year, but in general I think,
offers them the best of New Zealand,'' Mr Budd said.
''But I think it's really important also that we've got a
sophisticated infrastructure, so we've got very good-quality
accommodation, restaurants and shops and those kind of things
that are appealing and familiar to them.''
Mr Budd said Chinese visitors had been participating in more
adventure activities in the past two years. Many Chinese in
the resort were independent and those travelling in groups by
coach were not less independent.
''In Queenstown we're getting independent well-off travellers
of all types and all different modes of transport,'' he said.
''We know there's a lot of Chinese students sent to New
Zealand for a Western education who play host to visiting
family from China, so education and inbound tourism are very
More operators understood what they needed to do to appeal to
Making them feel welcome with pleasantries or signs in their
language were recommended, the same hospitality shown to all
nationalities, Mr Budd said.
Destination Queenstown will again provide easy,
cost-effective Mandarin scripts interested operators can
print for display.
However, the resort did not need to go overboard in
recognising their public holiday.
''My personal view is a Chinese New Year festival here is not
necessary - the Chinese are coming for the New Zealand and
Queenstown experience. If some operators want to do that,
that's great, but it's not something DQ would be
Happy New Year
Queenstown operators who have expressed interested in
supporting Chinese New Year by way of Mandarin signs, lantern
decorations and staff speaking pleasantries in Mandarin
include Canyoning.co.nz, Destination Queenstown, Hotel St
Moritz, Mercure Queenstown Resort, Novotel Queenstown
Lakeside, NZONE Skydive, The Rees, Shotover Jet and fellow
Ngai Tahu Tourism companies, Queenstown Airport, Queenstown
Rafting and Ziptrek Ecotours.
Novotel hired a florist to help transform the hotel's lobby
and restaurant with plum blossoms arranged with bamboo and
pine sprigs. The hotel will also offer guests foods that
represent good fortune and wealth in Chinese tradition.
St Moritz will display Chinese lanterns and Mandarin trees at
the hotel entrance and treat guests to horse-shaped cookies,
gold coins and give away custom bookmarks adorned with horse
symbolism and red tassel.