Chinese spending rockets in Queenstown


Short-stay Chinese visitors are spending up large in Queenstown and Auckland.

And they’re snubbing some of the country’s biggest cities for the cultural hot-spot of Rotorua.

This tourism spending trend shows what is called the “Golden Route”.

This was the term used by the chief executive of the Tourism Industry Association, Chris Roberts, to describe the three destinations of Auckland, Rotorua and Queenstown.

Roberts says the Golden Route is popular with Chinese group visitors, “who typically have less than a week in New Zealand”.

He says the number of independent Chinese travellers is growing “very strongly”, however, and they will be more likely to visit other regions.

The tourism spending estimates, sourced from the Regional Economic Activity Report, are presented by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in a visualisation created by Wellington’s Dragonfly Data Science and hosted on Herald Insights.

It shows Australian visitors leading tourism spending in almost every territorial authority in New Zealand.

According to the graphic, Aussies spent $439 million in Queenstown-Lakes in the year to March 2014 – or 27 per cent of the total tourist spend.

Chinese tourists spent $150m in Queenstown over the same period (9.2 per cent).

That’s dwarfed by the $178m spent in Queenstown by visitors from other parts of Otago but more than American tourists, who splashed out $122m.

However it’s a huge rise from 2009, when Chinese visitors spent a paltry $16m in Queenstown, and is a jump from 2013’s $108m.

Queenstown is now second on the national list for Chinese tourist spending. The highest is Auckland at $466m.

Third-place holder was Rotorua with $49 million – attracting more Chinese spending than most of New Zealand’s biggest cities. 

Our transtasman neighbours spent $726m in Auckland over the same period.

Roberts says despite Australia being “by far” New Zealand’s biggest visitor market – with 1.3 million arrivals a year and 45 per cent of all arrivals – China is the second-biggest and fastest growing. 

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development tourism manager Jason Hill says Ateed has been specifically targeting high-net wealth individuals in China, using Auckland’s natural assets to attract them through their hobbies – namely golf, sailing and horses.

Ateed plans to spend about $300,000 this year on “very targeted” activities in China, visiting and forming relationships with golf and sailing clubs, as well as horse groups and investors.

New Zealand Herald