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By Jo• 16 Jun 2017
Less than 20 years ago, there were no Chinese tourists in New Zealand as they weren't permitted to undertake leisure travel. That all changed in 1998 when New Zealand and Australia became the first western ‘approved destinations’ for Chinese travellers. Now China is New Zealand’s second-largest visitor market and is forecast to overtake Australia as our number one spending market within the next few years.
Wellington hasn’t seen many of these visitors – yet. The early years were dominated by very short Australia-New Zealand bus tours visiting Auckland and Rotorua in three days, including a lot of shopping and some dodgy selling methods. As the Chinese market rapidly matured, Tourism New Zealand’s strategy changed to focus on quality Chinese visitors and now, free independent travellers (FIT).
Chinese visitors have been spreading their wings throughout New Zealand - Queenstown, Milford, Tekapo and Tauranga. They’re skydiving, joining campervan convoys, star gazing and participating in photography trips. Over 400,000 Chinese visitors arrived in New Zealand this year, forecast to reach 913,000 by 2023. And Wellington hasn’t seen many of those Chinese visitors yet.
This month, Tourism New Zealand China launched their 2017/18 consumer campaign, The Heart of the Long White Cloud. This campaign aims to promote new locations for Chinese visitors to enjoy, and promotes visits outside the peak summer season. The campaign uses eight short videos featuring Wu Ershan, a leading film director, and Shu Qiao, a wine and food broadcaster to showcase the cultural, culinary and outdoor experiences in the ‘heart’ of New Zealand – Wellington, Tasman, Nelson and Marlborough.
With this campaign, Wellington isn’t going to be a secret in China anymore. Here's a rundown on the campaign:
Five years ago, a Chinese visitor in a waka on Wellington harbour would have been unbelievable. Don’t be surprised if that’s what you see after this campaign. We know that visitors from all over the world enjoy meeting Wellingtonians, dining in our restaurants, learning about our culture and soaking up the scenery in the coolest little capital. Our Chinese FIT visitors will be well-travelled, well-educated and looking to enjoy the same things. Let’s make them welcome in the Heart of the Long White Cloud.