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Chinese market to find out about Queenstown ‘first hand’

An online video series showcasing Queenstown and its seasons will target hundreds of thousands of Chinese-speaking users through China's biggest social media platform.

The six-part 'Xie Hou Xin Xilan First Hand' series, sponsored by Destination Queenstown, Tourism New Zealand and Auckland International Airport, is being produced by Queenstown locals Shuangji (Ji) Zhou, Trent Yeo and James Holman and hosted on newzealand.com.  It is believed to be the first seasonal destination video about New Zealand produced directly for the Chinese online viewer.

The episodes, delivered in both Mandarin and English with subtitles, will harness the popularity and tools of the Sina Weibo network, described as a combination of Facebook and Twitter - neither of which are used in mainland China.

You can see Episode One, which gives an introduction to Queenstown and showcases its annual Winter Festival, on newzealand.com.

Co-producer Trent Yeo said the video series was created to specifically encourage online conversations about Queenstown with Chinese-speaking people throughout the world.

"Our aim is to encourage potential visitors to both New Zealand and Queenstown through compelling imagery and stories, showing them 'First Hand' that we're an aspirational destination that's appealing, accessible and welcoming.

"Because of its popularity, Weibo is the best way to effectively reach this market.  Its rich capabilities mean travellers can communicate easily from anywhere in the world and its range of features have enabled us to do some cool things like using it to pinpoint Chinese visitors in Queenstown to interview for our series."

The 'First Hand' concept was developed by Ji Zhou, a Chinese ex-pat and local tourism consultant.

"First Hand is based on a unique understanding of New Zealand as a destination but, more importantly, conveying the cultural drivers and nuances of the Chinese tourist, all of which have been captured beautifully by our cameraman James Holman," he said. "We want to 'open a window' to what we offer here, remove travel barriers and get people excited."

Destination Queenstown CEO Graham Budd is very enthusiastic about the new 'First Hand' initiative.

"China is an important emerging market for Queenstown, and First Hand is an innovative way of communicating and inspiring millions of potential Chinese speaking travellers," he said.

"To have a unique showcase of our destination which is produced by people who live here, love Queenstown and understand this audience is invaluable."

Read more about marketing activity in China here.