Chinese travel agents visit city

Morgan (left) and Dave Saxton.
Morgan (left) and Dave Saxton.
A group of 11 travel agents from Beijing had a "whistlestop" familiarisation tour in Dunedin at the weekend, and were pleased with what they saw.

Visiting the country in conjunction with Air New Zealand, the group toured centres including Auckland and Queenstown before spending one night in Dunedin.

They took a trip on the Taieri Gorge Railway, were welcomed at the Chinese Garden, and toured the city on Friday.

On Saturday, they visited Larnach Castle and Natures Wonders before flying home.

Tourism Dunedin chief executive Hamish Saxton said "they were pretty impressed with Dunedin".

"They were very interested in including Dunedin in their itineraries - which is exactly what we want to hear," he said.

The Chinese tourist market was growing and Tourism Dunedin, Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand were being "proactive" in attracting business.

"Air New Zealand are keen on promoting New Zealand to the Chinese market, so they are running a number of these familiarisations. They have selected Dunedin as part of the must-see market," Mr Saxton said.

A second travel agent group, from Shanghai, will visit Dunedin early next month.

The trips may be short, but the Chinese agents wanted to ensure their clients would get value for money.

"We are interested in showing them what we think their clients would like to see for the limited time they are here."

Mr Saxton said "it would be lovely" if the tours created immediate business, but it was more likely to be about 18 months before the flow-on was noticeable, as tours were often booked months in advance.



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