Southern tourism leaders will join their counterparts
from around the country today on a fact-finding mission to
China, the country which emerged this week as New Zealand's
second-most important tourism market after Australia.
Destination Queenstown chief executive Graham Budd will work
with Tourism Dunedin trade sales representative Gil
Abercrombie and Christchurch International Airport's
Destination South Island manager Dave Hawkey, formerly of
Southern Lakes tourism operation Real Journeys, during the
following week as part of the Tourism New Zealand delegation
of 20 representatives to China.
They will team up with delegates including DQ international
markets manager Ben Chapman and Christchurch and Canterbury
Tourism general sales agent Amy Zhao, also representing
Tourism West Coast, who are already in the country.
"The overall trip is about two weeks' long, which includes
training of travel agents in four or five centres in Hong
Kong, and I'm going for the back end of the trip," Mr Budd
"I'm going to be joining some of that frontline training up
in Shanghai, just to observe, so my overall reason for being
there is to listen and ask questions of the trade in China
and absorb the opportunities.
"Ben is there doing the selling and training. I'm there to
take a more holistic, or strategic view and try and translate
that from a New Zealand opportunity into what is a Queenstown
The visit dovetails with China International Travel Mart, a
major travel show in Shanghai.
"My understanding is it's basically huge," Mr Budd said.
"While there's a trade component to it, it's mostly a
consumer travel show. You'll have people from all around the
world displaying their travel products.
"What that will allow me to do is understand what's being put
in front of the Chinese consumer in terms of their travel
"That will give some real perspective on how competitive the
environment is and what our niche and opportunity might be in
China has become New Zealand's second-largest tourist market,
recording a 37% increase in spending here during the past
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's
quarterly international visitor survey, released on Tuesday,
shows Chinese visitors spent $555 million in the year to
The spending put that country, for the first time, ahead of
the United Kingdom which spent $545 million, but well behind
New Zealand's largest tourist market Australia, which spent
Mr Budd said the Chinese tourism market was still emerging in
Queenstown. Chinese often had shorter trips to New Zealand
than other overseas visitors and converged on Auckland,
Rotorua and the upper North Island.
"Some of it is getting to Queenstown and that will continue
to grow, and one of the reasons for us being up in China
training is to get the travel trade in China to start
incorporating more Queenstown visits and content in the trips
they are selling."
Mr Budd said he would share his findings at the next DQ
member update in December.
The ministry's tourism research and evaluation manager, Peter
Ellis, of Wellington, said in the past three years China had
overtaken Japan, the United States and now the UK tourism
markets to become New Zealand's second-largest, as forecast
"The number of visitors from China has increased by 37% in
the last year alone, and just as importantly, the amount they
spend while here has also risen by 37%," Mr Ellis said.