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Canterbury cafés gear up for Chinese visitors

25 May 2015

Canterbury cafés gear up for Chinese visitors

Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism (CCT) is leading a food revolution in the region, teaching cafés how to cater to growing numbers of Chinese visitors.

The Roadside Food Project is training café staff in tourism towns from Kaikoura to Twizel, helping them with Asian and Chinese lunch options to add to their menus. The project is initiated and funded by CCT working in partnership with Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT).

Around 30 cafés from throughout Canterbury will attend two upskilling demonstrations in coming weeks, as part of a wider project to increase Asian and Chinese travellers’ overall holiday satisfaction in the province.

CCT chief executive Tim Hunter says China is now New Zealand’s second largest tourist market and everyone needs to be ready to welcome them.

“Food plays an important part in holiday enjoyment. Chinese travellers are telling us that pies and sandwiches are poor substitutes for dumplings and stir-fried veggies,” he says.

Research from Tourism New Zealand indicates roadside food across New Zealand gets a less than glowing rating from Chinese visitors.

“Our research in Canterbury backs this up. It shows while 62 per cent of independent Chinese visitors would like both Chinese and non-Chinese food on holiday, up to 27 per cent prefer to stick to just Chinese food when in New Zealand,” Tim Hunter says.

Visitor numbers from China are on a sharp rise. Last year 265,000 Chinese visitors came to New Zealand, and the number is predicted to grow to 400,000 in 2018 and 571,000 by 2021.

Roadside Food Project demonstrations are planned for two locations, Trents Wholesale in Christchurch on Wednesday 27 May, and Aoraki Polytechnic in Timaru on Wednesday 10 June.

CPIT will provide professional training, with four simple Asian and Chinese dishes on the menu. Afterwards, onsite visits will ensure the project is well supported.

CCT plans to use its channels including travel fairs, media, social media and collateral to promote the Chinese-friendly eateries throughout the region.

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