China air services game-changer for South Island tourism
28 August 2015
Direct China air services game-changer for South Island tourism
Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism (CCT) says new direct air services between China and Christchurch are a significant game-changer for tourism in the South Island.
CCT chief executive Tim Hunter says direct flights are likely to boost Chinese visitor arrivals by 20,000 per year.
“At last Chinese holiday makers will have direct access to their favourite part of New Zealand,” he says.
China Southern Airlines, the largest airline in Asia and the third largest in the world, will fly three services a week between the South Island and China from December. The year-round service will add 70,000 seats into the South Island and $100 million per annum to the GDP across regional South Island.
“This comes after five years of outstanding work by Christchurch Airport on the development of this key air route from North Asia. The cohesive approach from all South Island regional tourism organisations and tourism operators in promoting our part of New Zealand under the ‘South’ brand in China has been well rewarded,” Mr Hunter says.
Over the past two years CCT has invested heavily in upgrading information services to the China market, producing a dedicated Chinese language visitor guide. The marketing organisation also uses social media to share Canterbury tourism experiences with prospective Chinese visitors.
“We want Canterbury to be the most China friendly tourism region in New Zealand.”
CCT holds regular workshops for local tourism operators to help them work with the Chinese travel trade. This year CCT also partnered with Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) on the Roadside Food Project, working with cafes across the Canterbury region to develop new menus suited to Asian travellers.