Usually I opt for the sun and beach of somewhere like Fiji during a break but it’s time for a change.
By the time you read this I’ll be sipping a beer at Auckland Airport awaiting to board an Air New Zealand flight to Hong Kong – and no doubt contemplating what awaits during a planned weekend there and then a five-day stint in Beijing and Shanghai.
First up I’ll be taking in the All Blacks versus Australia Test in Hong Kong.
Then I’m looking forward to the culture shock of China and seeing famed landmarks like the Great Wall and Tiananmen Square. I suppose I’ll also manage to fit in sampling some of the famed Chinese nightlife. My old Radio Live mate Andrew Patterson rates Chinese bar culture among the best in the world.
A few quick facts – Chinese visitor numbers to New Zealand now make it our fourth largest market. It overtook Japan to become number four back in 2008.
It’s critical we continue to improve our understanding of this global powerhouse.
Don’t just take my word for it – Destination Queenstown chief executive Tony Everitt tells me it’s possible visitor numbers from China could climb so rapidly it goes from being our fourth to second largest market within three to five years.
“We need to get our heads around that as an industry here, seriously. It’s not out of the question that it becomes our second biggest market – and largest out of the Northern Hemisphere.” Everitt tells me.
Well, that’s about it from me before I depart. As is my usual way with travelling overseas, I packed efficiently – ie about half an hour before I headed to Queenstown Airport for my departure this afternoon.
Crucially, I’ve got the tools of the trade – camera, dictaphone and a video camera. During the coming days and weeks I’ll be looking to bring you regular insights into my travels.
– Mountain Scene chief news hound Philip ‘Scoop’ Chandler is flying to Hong Kong and China courtesy of Air New Zealand.