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Digital travel sellers weigh in at Kiwi Link

As Tourism New Zealand held its largest ever Kiwi Link in Beijing 26-28 October, the scale and diversity of the event since its début four years ago was evident, as was the increasing importance of digital travel sellers in the travel space.

Kiwi Link Greater China 2015 included 62 delegates from the New Zealand tourism industry, including RTOs, travel operators, inbound operators as well as airlines and airports representatives, along with 119 travel agents from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. A total of 4,700 one-on-one business meetings were conducted between Chinese and New Zealand industry professionals paving the way for New Zealand to further develop the China market.

Newcomers to Kiwi Link Greater China this year included OGO Rotorua, which featured on an episode of the popular Chinese TV show Daddy Where Are We Going 2, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and Weta Workshop, who all provided the latest information and displayed their products to travel industry professionals in China.

Jake Downing, Head of Tourism at Weta Workshop says: “As an activity provider online distribution is a critical part of our distribution channel so it was exciting to be able to discuss opportunities of selling our products in the Chinese market through these new channels."

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Tourism New Zealand is targeting a demographic that is economically capable and willing to travel to New Zealand. They prefer independent travel, experiencing a wide range of activities and events, and are keen to get off the beaten track in New Zealand.

David Craig, Tourism New Zealand General Manager Asia is delighted to see fledgling cross- country relationships begin at Kiwi Link and this year, eight new online travel partners were introduced to New Zealand operators.

“Part of the FIT mindset is to book travel independently and like other markets China’s online travel bookings are increasing,” says David.

“Kiwi Link provided a great opportunity to highlight New Zealand’s shoulder season offerings to try and convince more Chinese travellers to gain a deeper understanding of the rich experiences New Zealand has to offer across the seasons and off the beaten track.”

The Tourism New Zealand Frontline training (which generally follows on from Kiwi Link) wrapped up on Friday. The week-long training was held across Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai. Twenty nine New Zealand operators were present to upskill frontline sales staff from 450 Chinese travel agents on their latest travel products and destination resources.

Additional information:

  • A total of 328,000 Chinese visited New Zealand YE September 2015, representing an increase of 35.1 per cent year on year.

  • Holiday visitors totalled 248,000 YE September 2015, an increase of 40.5 per cent for the year.

  • Visitor expenditure also rose by 61 per cent for the year, bringing $1.3b to the New Zealand economy.

  • By the end of January 2016, there will be five direct routes from China to New Zealand, increasing airline capacity to 10,699 seats per week and improving the flying options between the countries, responding to the increasing travel demand from the China market.