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Market overview

China is New Zealand's second-largest international tourism market.

The market is undergoing a shift towards Free Independent Travellers (FIT) as Chinese become more confident about organising their own trips and seek fresh, unique experiences.

We are focused on encouraging the Chinese to travel to New Zealand outside of peak periods and to discover the variety of sights and activities available across the country.

We organise and participate in a number of offshore training and networking events with travel sellers each year which New Zealand regions and operators can take part in. Take a look at our event calendar for more information.

Key insights 

  • Chinese tend to visit in large numbers in Spring Festival (Chinese New Year).
  • Most Chinese holiday visitors to New Zealand visit another country (usually Australia) as part of the same trip.
  • Booking tickets online is also becoming popular in China. Airlines are increasing their online sales and online travel agents, such as Ctrip and Alitrip are aggressively developing services for independent travellers.

Marketing and trade activity

The aim of our marketing activity in China is to show Chinese travellers what there is to see and do in the less travelled regions of New Zealand and to promote the benefits of visiting in spring and autumn.

A big part of our China marketing and trade work is promoting off-peak visitation. The ‘Heart of the Long White Cloud’ campaign to encourage Chinese visitors to – Wellington and the top of the South Island launched recently.

The campaign is part of Tourism New Zealand’s regional and seasonal strategy, promoting new regions to the China market and promoting off-peak travel. The major focus has been on partnership with independent traveller website Qyer (80 million members) which has promoted the regions and developed Q-Guides for travellers. Read more here.

36 flights operate between New Zealand and China each week.

In 2013 Tourism New Zealand launched a new trade marketing initiative in China known as the Premium Kiwi Partner (PKP) programme. This programme continues to adapt to changing market conditions, in particular the growth of FIT and the increasing importance of online travel agents (OTA’s). Today there are 19 outbound agents and 12 inbound tour operators in the programme. PKP partners commit to developing and marketing quality, mono-New Zealand tour programmes in return for Tourism New Zealand endorsement of itineraries and marketing support.

Airline activity

A total of 36 flights operate between New Zealand and China each week. Air New Zealand operates seven direct flights between Auckland and Shanghai. Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, Tianjin Airlines, Hainan Airlines and Sichuan Airlines operate flights between Auckland and Christchurch and the Chinese cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Chongqing, Shenzhen and Chengdu.

ADS and the China Market Development Unit

Establishing a quality end-to-end travel experience is the core focus for our China Market Development Unit. In place since 2007, the team monitors the quality of tours run as part of the Approved Destination Status (ADS) programme, to ensure Chinese visitors enjoy quality holiday experiences in New Zealand, helping drive the long-term growth of this market. Find out more about ADS here.

China Toolkit

The China Toolkit is available to help the New Zealand tourism sector deliver quality experiences to Chinese visitors. The Toolkit's focus is to help the visitor sector develop and deliver products that Chinese visitors value and enjoy - by providing in one place a collection of useful tools that businesses can access. Read more here.

More information

Exchange rates: www.xe.com

GDP growth: www.economist.com

For more information on the China economy view the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s China market guide.