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Successful launch of Qbook Maps in Japanese and Chinese

27 January 2014

Successful launch of Qbook Maps in Japanese and Chinese

A privately-owned Queenstown booking and information agency with a strong presence in Asian independent traveller (FIT) markets has launched new Qbook maps.

Qbook director Yoji Kimura said the new maps – one in Japanese, the other in Chinese – had been produced in response to feedback from visitors from both markets about how helpful a town map in their own language would be.

Since launching in late December, the pocket-size maps that open up to full information sheets on local attractions, activities, shops and restaurants have already proved so popular Mr Kimura is considering doing another print run.

The timing would be perfect with the official start of Chinese New Year two-week celebrations from January 31 scheduled to bring thousands more visitors to Queenstown and the surrounding region.

“The maps include detailed information on local attractions, activities, shops and restaurants and visitors are taking them away to write lots of notes on them as they work their way around town,” he said.

“Not only do visitors love them but we’ve had really strong support from Queenstown businesses keen to be listed on the maps as they have seen this as a fantastic platform to connect their business to the Asian market.

“For those visitors, it’s good for them to know that they’ll receive a warm welcome at those businesses and often find Japanese or Chinese-speaking staff to help them.”

Mr Kimura, who owns and operates two booking centres, Qbook Central in Shotover Street and Qbook Kawarau Village that manages activity bookings for guests at the Kawarau and Hilton hotels, said maps could also be downloaded from Qbook’s Japanese and Chinese language websites.

He has employed several Japanese and Chinese-speaking staff and is already seeing the benefits through face-to-face, online and social media channels.

Mr Kimura, who has travelled extensively and often in Japan and China over the past year, said that while many businesses were focussed on emerging Chinese markets, they should not lose sight of continued growth in the Japanese market too.

“I know from my visits to both countries that we’re going to see more independent visitors from Japan and China, people who aren’t travelling in groups where their itinerary is fixed,” he said.

“Particularly in the Japanese market, we’ve been promoting longer Queenstown stays, particularly pushing ‘Three nights-plus in Queenstown’ over the last five years with Tourism New Zealand, Destination Queenstown and Japanese travel agents.

“We’re seeing the results of that right now with more Japanese FITs (Free Independent Travellers) staying in Queenstown for three nights or more, enabling them to explore Queenstown and its activities in more depth and for longer, and now using the Qbook map to help them.

“We’ve also seen an increase in younger travellers from Japan with more time and more opportunities to experience adventurous activities.”

Tourism New Zealand's Acting General Manager Asia David Craig welcomed the work being done Qbook to enhance Asian visitors' holiday experiences.

"Tourism New Zealand has a particular interest in ensuring visitors have a quality experience while in New Zealand so they return home and share their stories with others,” he said.

“We know that friends and family are considered a key source of information for potential travellers and a positive report from friends and family will encourage others to plan and book a trip of their own.

"This initiative by Qbook is a great example of the how the industry can respond to the needs of our visitors, with the end result being a better experience while in New Zealand.

“It also supports Tourism New Zealand's objectives of increasing the number of valuable, free and independent travellers who seek greater personal control of their itinerary.”

The Chinese version of the Qbook map and website has links to the top Chinese social media site Weibo and there is also a QR code linking through WeChat, another new and very popular Chinese communication tool.

Mr Kimura said Qbook was already seeing WeChat being used as a last-minute booking tool.

“Mainly through WeChat we have a lot of Chinese New Year bookings coming through, and looking at the numbers I’d say this year’s celebrations are going to be huge for Queenstown,” he said.

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