Up-speccing the Chinese market

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The fast-growing Chinese visitor market is also fast evolving. Operators and marketers tell Philip Chandler that for Queenstown, especially, the major growth won’t be cheap-and-cheerful Chinese coach tours.

It’s perhaps easy to get a bit cynical about the Chinese visitor market.

You see bus-loads of them walking around the Queenstown CBD, sometimes behind a guide holding up a red flag.

The commonly-held belief is they’re walking between Chinese-owned restaurants and shops before hopping back on Chinese-operated buses to go to their Chinese-owned hotels.

And Chinese visitor numbers into NZ are forecast to double from 400,000-plus per year to 800,000 by 2024, according to Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Typically, a third of them make it to Queenstown.

But talking to tour operators and tourism industry bosses in both China and New Zealand, they’re keen to stress that Queenstown looks well positioned to receive a higher proportion of longer-staying, higher-spending visitors in the years ahead.

– Philip Chandler visited China with assistance from Auckland International Airport and DQ.

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