Businesses should prepare for the 2019 China-New Zealand Year of Tourism, says the chairman of the New Zealand Chinese Travel and Tourism Association.
During the official visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in March 2017, the New Zealand and China governments jointly announced the launch of the 2019 China-New Zealand Year of Tourism.
The initiative will potentially see Chinese visitors spend $1.7 billion in New Zealand, and this number is forecast to reach $3.06b a year by 2024, according to Tourism New Zealand statistics.
China is New Zealand's second-largest international tourism market with approximately 500,000 visitors every year, contributing about $1.46 billion to the New Zealand economy.
Simon Cheung, chairman of New Zealand Chinese Travel and Tourism Association (NZCTTA) says the Year of Tourism will not only benefit tourism operators, but also other business sectors.
“Our association is focussing on the inbound market by working with New Zealand local attractions and tourism operators to make sure we are ready for next year.”
“There will definitely be a revenue increase for tourism operators as a lot of Chinese tourists come to the country. Tourism Year is just a window for people to enter the country but there will be more opportunities than just for tourist industry,” said Mr. Cheung.
NZCTTA has already working on a couple of projects to prepare for an expected surge of Chinese tourists next year.
“There are two things we are working on at the moment. One is a verification program working with New Zealand police to filter illegal tourism operators.”
“The second thing is trade show. We’ll invite Chinese tourism boards and operators come over and attend tours to see different locations to familiarize themselves with New Zealand,” said Mr. Cheung.
In terms of the different behaviours between New Zealand and Chinese tourists, Mr. Cheung suggested local tourism operators have to prepare themselves well on adapting the different habits from Chinese tourists.
“Kiwi travellers like to plan ahead. Chinese tourists enjoy spontaneous travel so there are a lot of last minute bookings. For businesses who’d like to attract Chinese tourists this is the major challenge for them.
“My advice for New Zealand tourism operators is worth investing to get a Chinese sales person or reception because they know the customers better and they can speak their language.”
“Most Chinese people pay through AliPay or WeChat pay. This is the new trend and payment habit already built into their culture so it would be great for businesses to look into these kind of facilities,” said Mr. Cheung.
Mr. Cheung also shared his tips for New Zealanders who would like to travel to China next year.
“I suggest Kiwis go to big cities first like Shanghai and Beijing. I like golf so I recommend Hainan province. People can enjoy sunshine, beaches, and golf courses there,” said Mr. Cheung.
New Zealanders will also have the chance to get up close with the China’s ancient treasures as the 2,300 year old terracotta warriors are coming to Te Papa this summer.