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Air New Zealand will be operating six return services a week into Shanghai by Chinese New Year.
Deputy chief executive Norm Thompson told Trenz reporters the national carrier was consolidating services into Shanghai and serving Beijing as a one-stop destination in conjunction with Star Alliance code-share partner Air China.
"We are currently operating four services a week into Shanghai, increasing to five services a week in July and six by Chinese New Year 2013," Mr Thompson said on Wednesday.
"Chinese visitor numbers to New Zealand have increased from 105,700 to 160,268, year ending March, since we began operating into the region."
However, Mr Thompson said the airline was more concerned with increasing the length of stay of Chinese visitors in New Zealand, and consequently foreign exchange earnings from the growth in tourism from China, than it was with growing the number of visitors.
"We are working on a number of initiatives in the local market to increase the number of Chinese visitors choosing to travel directly and exclusively to New Zealand.
"For example, we are playing a leading role in extending the length of stay and the number of New Zealand regions that Chinese visitors travel to by only featuring mono-destination tour itineraries in our campaigns with key local partners."
The carrier also focused on enhancing the relationship with Chinese travel trade through familiarisation trips to New Zealand, Experience New Zealand workshops in Shanghai and Beijing and the development of Chinese language guidebooks and conference brochures for New Zealand.
Where the wild things are
Guided Nature Walks has been inspired by survival television celebrities and launched its own version: "You vs Wild".
Led by former bodyguard and survival specialist Peter Hitchman, the trip gives clients a taste of what it is like to survive off the land, with nothing but a knife, a few things they might have on their person, or items previously discarded by others.
"I take people out into some stunning back-country and on a half day walk introduce clients to the wilderness of Aotearoa, teach them how to make a fire, how to build a bivouac shelter, what plants are safe to eat, how to make pain relief, how to find north the 'celestial' way and how to harvest and filter water so that it's safe to drink," Mr Hitchman said.
"These are just a few of the skills you'd need to stay alive if, for whatever reason, you were caught out in the wilderness, and it's amazing just how much fun people are having.
Heli Tours prepares for its second winter season with new packages on offer and several successes already under the belt of sole owner Paul Mitchell.
The former farm musterer and fifth generation "Southern man" said he was living his boyhood dream.
"I wanted to fly ever since I was a boy and I started in 2004, by which time I was managing Halfway Bay Station near Queenstown," Mr Mitchell said. "Soon, I was working part-time for two scenic helicopter companies and I could see an opportunity to start up a company with some real points of difference."
The company went on to forge strong relationships with Queenstown businesses such as Glenorchy High Country Horses, Break One clay target shooting, Onsen Hot Pools, Thunder Jet and Real Journeys.
"Wine tourism is still very young in this district and that's why I've also sponsored the international Pinot Noir Celebration here for the past two years," he said.
Mr Mitchell also flies guests to high country stations, where he is one of a few to gain access and know the land when he gets there, as well as to waterfalls, picnic spots and photo shoot opportunities on land largely untouched.
This winter, Heli Tours will operate Heli Snow-Shoeing with Guided Walks New Zealand.
New vehicles in fleet
Nomad Safaris will add three new environmentally friendly, economical and quieter-engined Land Cruisers to its fleet of 4WD vehicles this winter, with more to follow.
The scenic tour operator also introduced a new Paradise Safaris Mavora Lakes trip to its list of more than 20 year-round tour options as its latest link with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings films.
The Paradise Safaris Mavora Lakes trip begins with a cruise from Queenstown across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak on TSS Earnslaw.
Guides transport passengers to the heart of Mavora Lakes where they will learn about the legends of the area, and visit locations used in the films inspired by the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.
After a picnic lunch at Mavora Lakes, the trip returns to Walter Peak for a classic Kiwi Farm Show followed by afternoon tea at the Colonel's Homestead before catching Earnslaw back to Queenstown.
Each trip departs at 9.45am and returns at 5.30pm.
Trenz returns to Auckland
Trenz, New Zealand's biggest annual international tourism showcase, will return to Auckland in 2013, the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand announced yesterday.
"After two highly successful years in the Southern Lakes region, we look forward to taking Trenz back to New Zealand's biggest city," association interim chief executive Grant Lilly said.