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Prominent Chinese wildlife photographer Xi Zhinong led a team of Chinese National Geographic staff throughout Dunedin, Southland, the Waitaki district and Stewart Island last month to report on New Zealand’s conservation efforts.
The photographs, including several taken at Allans Beach, on Otago Peninsula will appear in a 16-page cover story spread in the magazine’s March 2017 edition.
Dunedin City Council destination Dunedin manager Ryan Craig said having the "rock-star" of Chinese conservation and wildlife photography show Dunedin to such a large Chinese audience was a major coup for the city.
"He’s got a huge following, and National Geographic is a highly reputable publication and the Chinese market is a large growth market."
Mr Zhinong was particularly well known for his documentary on a snow monkey sanctuary, and a highlight of his visit to Dunedin was a visit to Orokonui Ecosanctuary, Mr Craig said.
"He was very impressed, and taken by Orokonui and the wildlife there."
Dunedin’s appearance in the magazine could put it on the same map in the Chinese market as British environmentalist David Bellamy’s comment Dunedin was the "finest example of ecotourism in the world" did for Dunedin in the English market, he said.
A Tourism New Zealand spokesman said more than 400,000 Chinese visitors came to New Zealand each year.
"I know for a fact that the National Geographic Traveller team really enjoyed Dunedin and Stewart Island.
"Promotions like this are worth their weight in gold."