An influential Chinese film star is so impressed with Queenstown that she wants to buy a home here.
Dong Xuan visited the resort last week as part of a week-long New Zealand trip sponsored by Auckland International Airport, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development and wholesale partners in China.
The trip was designed to showcase NZ as a premium travel product, especially through social media – Dong has more than 3.2 million followers on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Facebook.
While in Queenstown she went jetboating with Shotover Jet, took a lake cruise on the Earnslaw steamship, travelled to Arrowtown and flew to Milford Sound by helicopter.
Mountain Scene spoke to Dong with interpreting help from Auckland Airport Asian development manager Helen Li.
“She even wants to come here, to Queenstown, and buy a house and live here, this is her next goal,” Li says.
“This kind of scene, she can only see from the movies and she really wants to live here.”
Asked what Dong is telling her followers about NZ, Li says: “If she wants to use one word to describe NZ that would be ‘pure’.
“It’s not just about the scenery or the air, it’s also about culture and the people here, they are very pure as well.”
Glenn Wedlock, Auckland Airport’s general manager aeronautical commercial, comments: “We are working in market with the trade industry to build premium travel markets from China, and this part of the programme enables us to highlight NZ and the depth of product for premium markets around the country.
“In China, celebrities like Miss Dong have significant influence, so the power of her recommendations to visit NZ can’t be underestimated.”
Li, interpreting for Dong, says it’s common to travel to NZ in tour groups.
“It’s not her idea of having a holiday, which is you try to relax yourself.”
Dong comments on the number of unique NZ experiences, like landing a helicopter on a glacier and visiting Milford Sound.
According to a Chinese movie website, Dong, 29, has starred in eight movies since 2007 and 21 TV series since 2003.