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Partnership targets visitor safety on New Zealand roads

Tourism New Zealand, the New Zealand Transport Agency and Air New Zealand have joined forces to target Chinese tourists with important road safety messages before they get behind the wheel.

Partnership targets visitor safety on New Zealand roads.jpg

A Chinese language, driver safety video is currently included on inflight entertainment systems on Air New Zealand international flights from China and Hong Kong into New Zealand.

China is New Zealand's second largest visitor market. It has been growing and evolving rapidly with Chinese holidaymakers increasingly choosing to self-drive rather than experience a more traditional coach tour.

The video was developed by Tourism New Zealand and the Transport Agency in response to calls to better communicate New Zealand road safety messages after a spate of recent crashes involving tourists.

The video is also available on Tourism New Zealand's Chinese language consumer website newzealand.com and Youku - the Chinese version of YouTube.

Tourism New Zealand's Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says the organisation is proud to be part of efforts to improve safety on New Zealand roads.

"No one ever wants to hear of a holiday that ends in a road crash or worse," he says.

"The experience visitors have in New Zealand is critical to their overall satisfaction and likelihood of recommending New Zealand to others.

"We know that driving conditions in New Zealand are very different to those experienced in China and Hong Kong, and this can come as something of a surprise to some of our visitors. 

"We are committed to improving the quality of holiday experience for travellers and this video is a fantastic example of agencies working collaboratively to provide some simple safety messages."

Transport Agency Road Safety Director Ernst Zollner said the agency was pleased to support the new in-flight video as it is vital that visitors understand New Zealand's unique driving conditions before they hit the road.

"Serious road crashes involving visitors are devastating for everyone affected, including New Zealand drivers, and we don't want to see holidays in this beautiful country marred by road crashes. We're pleased to see a range of new channels and products being developed to help keep visitors safe behind the wheel."

Mr Zollner said the new video was part of broader effort to reduce road crashes involving tourists.

"It's important to improve tourists' awareness of New Zealand driving conditions, but we're also looking at ways of encouraging visitors to hire the safest rental vehicles they can afford, promoting safe and realistic route choices and travel itineraries, and improving signage and road markings."

A Transport Agency leaflet for visitors - 'What's different about driving in New Zealand' (with a Chinese translation) - is available from hire car companies, airports and tourism organisations.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says China is an important market for the airline.

"Each year a growing number of Chinese visitors arrive on Air New Zealand's daily direct services from Shanghai and Hong Kong and we are focussed on ensuring these visitors have a great experience both inflight and on the ground.  We hope this inflight video will help educate Chinese drivers on New Zealand road safety and help them to keep safe on New Zealand's roads.

"This is an important initiative given the increasing number of Chinese travellers who visit New Zealand and opt to self-drive," says Mr Luxon.

A number of other initiatives have been taken to support Chinese drivers on New Zealand roads.

Tourism New Zealand has supported the development by a private company of another video targeted at campervan drivers, which has been translated into Chinese.

Tourism New Zealand's Chinese visitor brochure, which is available at the immigration counters at Auckland International Airport for all flights arriving from China and Hong Kong, has a driver safety information section.

In January 2014, in the lead-up to the Chinese New Year holiday period, articles providing safety information for visitors were published in key New Zealand Chinese language newspapers and made available to inbound travellers - one such example can be seen here