New Zealand ready to welcome Chinese tourists

Chinese tourists have shown a significant interest in New Zealand as a travel destination, with notable trends and data emerging in recent years:

  1. Tourist Numbers and Market Recovery: Between July 2022 and June 2023, 59,343 Chinese visitors arrived in New Zealand. This number reflects the ongoing recovery of the market since the reopening of China’s international borders in January 2023​ (Tourism New Zealand website)​.
  2. Tourist Spend: Prior to the pandemic, Chinese tourists were a major contributor to New Zealand’s tourism economy, spending approximately 1.7 billion New Zealand dollars in 2019​ (Xinhua)​.
  3. Travel Preferences: The most popular travel season for Chinese tourists in New Zealand is autumn, with 59% of visits occurring during this period. Additionally, a significant proportion of these tourists come from major cities such as Shanghai, Guangdong, and Beijing, and they tend to stay for more than a week, with 39% staying between 8-14 days​ 
  4. Activities and Interests: Chinese visitors in New Zealand engage in diverse activities including local cuisine tasting, exploring beaches and coasts, trying local wines and beers, and visiting historical sites and nature reserves​ 
  5. Marketing and Engagement: To effectively attract Chinese tourists, New Zealand has utilized strategies such as collaborating with key opinion leaders (KOLs) and leveraging platforms like WeChat and Xiaohongshu for social media marketing. These efforts are enhanced by ensuring that promotional content is available in Mandarin, helping to overcome language barriers and make information easily accessible​ (Chinese Tourists Agency)​.

Chinese tourists are more and more numerous to travel through the Islands. With the expansion of Chinese tourism around the world, many countries see the potential in this new market and want to better integrate them and welcome them to their territory.

Opportunity of the Chinese market

The Director General of the City of Marlborough, Tracy Johnston, said that despite the fact that Chinese visitors come from growing in the region, they don’t represent the largest share of their market. Indeed, their main markets in volume are turning to the US, the UK, Australia, Germany and France. However, they are very positive about the potential of Chinese tourists.

They are more and more interested about New Zealand. You can read this article.

What Chinese tourists want to visit in New Zealand?

Chinese tourists, with their keen sense of adventure and a penchant for the unique, find New Zealand a veritable playground filled with whimsical wonders and natural spectacles.

  1. Hobbiton Movie Set: For those who’ve ever wondered if they could out-eat a Hobbit or simply want to disappear into a hobbit hole, the lush pastures of the Shire offer a perfect escape from the skyscrapers of Shanghai or Beijing.
  2. Waitomo Glowworm Caves: Chinese tourists can swap their neon lights for something more organic. The glowworm caves provide a magical experience, like floating under a starry sky, except this sky is underground and the stars are gummy worm look-alikes.
  3. Sky Tower in Auckland: Offering a chance to see New Zealand from over 300 meters up, and maybe check if their friends back home can see them wave from the top. It’s the Southern Hemisphere’s answer to “being on top of the world!”
  4. Milford Sound: This place lets visitors stand before towering cliffs and mighty waterfalls, proving that New Zealand does outdoor drama better than a Cantonese opera.
  5. Queenstown Adventure Sports: For adrenaline junkies, Queenstown is like an all-you-can-eat buffet, but for extreme sports. Bungee jumping, skydiving, or jet boating—pick your thrill, and yes, screaming in Mandarin is allowed.
  6. Maori Cultural Tours: These tours offer an insightful peek into the rich tapestry of New Zealand’s indigenous culture. It’s like visiting a living museum but without the glass cases.
  7. Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers: Walk or fly over these icy giants. It’s cool (literally) and a good break from the usually hot and humid Chinese weather, offering a chill unlike any air conditioner can provide.
  8. Geothermal Parks of Rotorua: Where else can you cook an egg in the pools outside your hotel and not get billed for kitchen use? Rotorua’s bubbling mud pools and steaming geysers provide a ‘spa day’ with a geological twist.
  9. Whale Watching in Kaikoura: This offers a chance to see who blinks first in a staring contest with a sperm whale. Spoiler: the whale usually wins.
  10. Wine Tasting in Marlborough: For those who appreciate a good drop, a tour through Marlborough’s vineyards to sip sauvignon blanc is like finding an oasis in the desert, except it’s an oasis that makes you pleasantly tipsy.

These attractions not only highlight the spectacular diversity of New Zealand’s landscapes but also cater to the whimsical, adventurous spirit of Chinese tourists looking for memorable experiences that are as rich in culture as they are in Instagram potential.

What Travel professionals in New Zealand should know about Chinese tourists?

For travel professionals in New Zealand aiming to effectively cater to and attract Chinese tourists, it’s essential to understand their preferences, expectations, and cultural nuances. Here are ten key points to consider:

  1. Language Services: They prefer speak Mandarin. Logical so having speaking guides and customer service can significantly enhance the travel experience for Chinese tourists, who may face language barriers.
  2. Cultural Sensitivity: Understand and respect Chinese cultural practices and holidays. For example, recognizing the importance of Chinese New Year can help tailor services and marketing efforts.
  3. Convenient Payment Options: Implementing popular Chinese payment methods like Alipay and WeChat Pay can make transactions smoother and more familiar for Chinese tourists.
  4. Mobile and Digital Preferences: Chinese tourists often rely heavily on their smartphones for both planning and during their travel. Ensuring that your business has a strong mobile presence and is featured on popular Chinese platforms like WeChat, Ctrip, and Qunar can boost visibility.
  5. Social Media Engagement: Social media are “life” of most Chinese people so having Active engagement on Chinese social media platforms (red, wechat, douyin) can help in marketing efforts. Creating content in Mandarin and using platforms like Red and Douyin (TikTok) can attract more visitors.
  6. Shopping Opportunities: Many Chinese tourists are keen on shopping during their travels, especially for local goods and luxury products that are either unavailable or more expensive in China. Highlighting shopping opportunities can be a strong draw.
  7. Familiar Foods: While many Chinese tourists like to try local cuisine, having Chinese food options available can provide comfort and enhance their experience, particularly for older travelers or those on longer stays.
  8. Group Travel Preferences: Although independent travel is on the rise, many Chinese tourists still prefer the convenience and familiarity of group tours. Offering services that cater to groups can be beneficial.
  9. Customized Experiences: Personalization is increasingly important. Offering customizable tour options can appeal to younger travelers and those seeking unique, personalized experiences beyond typical tourist activities.
  10. Visa Assistance: Providing clear information and assistance with obtaining travel visas can remove a significant barrier for Chinese tourists. Simplifying or explaining the process can encourage more visits.

By considering these points, New Zealand travel professionals can better serve and attract Chinese tourists, ensuring their experiences in the country are both enjoyable and hassle-free, leading to positive reviews and increased repeat visits.

(We can support you with social Media 😉 )

China Social Media Agency

The wine market could attract Chinese tourists

Johnston was present during the Trenz tourism conference in Rotorua, attended by representatives of the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, as well as those of the company Beachcomber Fun Cruises and Malrborough Tour Company, who all worked to forge links with other operators and buyers from around the world.

“We are not here to just talk of Chinese tourists, of course, but obviously they are part of it. Chinese tourists start coming to New Zealand in greater numbers and they are diversifying their travel itineraries, “said Johnston. This means that rather than make traditional visits, they prefer to visit other places. The wine market is booming in China, and Johnston believes this is a point that should play to attract more Chinese in Marlborough.

“The food and wine are two particularly interesting aspects for Chinese buyers who travel. We can also offer nature tours and many other things. “


Some initiatives to develop Chinese tourism

China Airlines announced it will extend its service to Christchurch, following a three-month period of success, in December 2014 to February 2015.

Christchurch Airport has announced a regional economic development program, bring together the 15 tourism organizations in the region worked together to improve the tourism market.

The program will begin with a budget of $100,000 and is intended to help both the region tourism operators to develop the Chinese tourism market. Johnston declared that she has met Christchurch airport to discuss the initiative of the program and to encourage tourism operators to implement the program when it is applicable in July.

New Zealand wishes to attract more and more Chinese tourists because in a long-term, they could become a huge market for the country.

You want to attract Chinese tourism, read this article.

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