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Reality star’s visit attracts massive following in China

Tourism New Zealand's success in attracting China's most famous reality star to showcase New Zealand has had a huge impact, generating a massive social media following and media articles.

Actor, director, singer, screenwriter and university teacher Huang Lei was last seen in New Zealand on season two of reality show 'Dad, where are we going?'. The filming of two episodes in New Zealand was an outstanding success with 400 million Chinese watching the series.

This month Huang Lei returned to New Zealand with his wife Sun Li and two daughters for a family holiday celebrating the couple's 20 years together. The family worked alongside Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand to showcase New Zealand as a holiday destination for families and special occasions.

Huang Lei and his family spent eight days touring the top of the south island, supported by Destination Marlborough, Destination Kaikoura and Christchurch Canterbury Tourism.

The mega star made six posts to his Weibo social media account, China's equivalent of Facebook. His messages attracted more than 592,000 likes and a specially created hashtag "20 years of in love" had more than 1.6 million views.

News of the visit generated more than 530 media articles with an equivalent advertising value of more than 2.7 million dollars.

His posts about food attracted the most attention. A picture of Huang Lei cooking a lobster dinner in Kaikoura attracted 123,301 likes and 11,044 comments on his Weibo site. The picture was retweeted 9,232 times. Other highlights and locations featured in his posts included Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Cloudy Bay and Hapuku lodge at Kaikoura.

While he was in New Zealand, Huang Lei also took the time to record a driving safety video for Tourism New Zealand. His commitment to the safety of his family meant he was happy to deliver our key message as part of his trip - that while self-driving is a great way to see New Zealand, driving here is very different from driving in China and visitors should consider all their transport options.

The video will be distributed through all Tourism New Zealand owned channels in China and through public relations activity as well as aired on Air New Zealand's inflight entertainment.

The China market continues to be a standout success for the tourism industry with visitor arrivals up 29.3  percent for the year ending May 2015 and holiday arrivals up 31.1 percent. Average expenditure is up 34 percent for the year ending March 2015.