New Glenorchy Discovery Group tour embraces Chinese tourism
January 22 2014
Queenstown’s Dart River Jet is embracing Chinese tourism – on the eve of Chinese New Year – with two new Chinese staff and a tour aimed primarily at the Asian market.
Glenorchy Discovery Group tours – launched mid last year – receives up to three groups of Chinese visitors a day who come to experience jet boating, a forest walk and the back country drive from Glenorchy to Paradise.
Chinese staff Jin Jing and Qui Wenrong work in guiding and customer service, and are busy familiarising themselves with all aspects of the business before the busy Chinese New Year celebrations, which officially starts on Friday January 28.
Along with other Queenstown businesses, Dart River Jet has seen substantial increases in the number of Chinese visitors around this traditional celebratory time of year.
“We’ve seen numbers and bookings increase substantially over the past two years and this year is no exception with heavy forward bookings,” said General Manager Clark Scott.
“As a result of past growth we recognised the need to introduce a new product to cater specifically for this market which is where Glenorchy Discovery Group tours come in.
“It’s been hugely popular and we’re anticipating that through the New Year celebrations and into the remainder of summer and autumn it will continue to delight these visitors.”
The tour combines three outdoor activities to explore and discover Glenorchy and its surrounds in just half a day, including a jetboat ride on the braided Dart River, followed by a 30 minute bush walk where a guide introduces several special New Zealand plants.
Finally a backroad bus tour through Paradise and past Diamond Lake, stopping to view ‘Middle Earth’ movie scenes and backdrops, also passes through private farms, with a chance to feed horses at the last photo stop before finishing in Glenorchy with a tour of the stunning lakeside hamlet.
Working as a guide and in customer service at Dart River Jet, Jin Jing has been enjoying introducing Chinese visitors to the delights of New Zealand including the hot and peppery herb horopito.
25-year-old Jin Jing Li, originally from Sichuan province, recently graduated with a degree in IT and is currently applying to do her Masters in the USA. She took the job with Dart River Jet because she wanted to do something different and learn more about New Zealand.
“I’m very much enjoying the work and helping Chinese visitors understand the wonders of New Zealand while I’m still learning about geography, plants and animals,” she said.
Earlier this month a large slip on the upper reaches of the Dart River temporarily blocked the river and caused a small lake to form behind it, but Mr Scott said it had caused very little disruption to jet boat operations.
“While the slip location has meant a small section of the Dart River track is being re-aligned, it’s been business as usual on the river and we’ve been as busy as ever, looking forward to the remainder of summer,” he said.