Queenstown will get more visitors via Christchurch Airport over Auckland Airport with increased direct international flights, a senior manager believes.
Matthew Findlay, Christchurch Airport’s general manager aeronautical business development, says tourists arriving in Christchurch are 65 per cent more likely to travel around the South Island than if they flew into the North Island.
Most of the Chinese market arrives in Auckland and spends time there and in Rotorua – Christchurch only got nine per cent of the market last year and Queenstown got 12 per cent, he says.
There’s huge untapped potential in the Asian market – and if Christchurch Airport secured another carrier like Air Asia X then the market would grow significantly, Findlay says.
During its short tenure Air Asia X helped the Kuala Lumpur-to-Christchurch market grow by 4034 per cent – from a few hundred passengers to 14,000 between March-June 2011.
“If we were to get more direct services to Christchurch that’d be far more transformational for Queenstown tourism than any other airport company in NZ,” Findlay says.