Tourism New Zealand’s General Manager - Asia, Gregg Wafelbakker says the growing trend for tailor-made travel from China will be valuable to the tourism industry and well-aligned with New Zealand’s tourism aspirations.
“Tailor-made travel is an emerging trend in China due to an increasing demand for in-depth travel by consumers who don’t have the time to plan their own itinerary but are willing to pay for a quality experience,” says Mr Wafelbakker.
“Through tailor-made travel, clients can create a wish-list for their holiday and travel agents will design a comprehensive, bespoke itinerary for that trip – from flights right through to accommodation, activities and on-the-ground travel.”
Tailor-made travel is a significant shift from the large group tours traditionally seen from the China market. Tour groups now make up just 34 percent of Chinese visitors, down from 41 percent in 2017. Free and Independent Travellers (FIT) now make up 40 percent of Chinese visitors, up from 31 percent in 2017.
“Tailor-made travel gives Chinese visitors the structure of an organised tour with the freedom to experience more of what New Zealand has to offer,” says Mr Wafelbakker.
“With the expert guidance of tailor-made travel agents, visitors can easily and confidently experience more of New Zealand’s regions with every aspect of the travel arranged for them in advance.”
New Zealand is considered well set up to fulfil the requirements of tailor-made travel visitors.
“Consumers of tailor-made travel are typically looking for unique experiences, variety and flexibility in their holidays,” says Mr Wafelbakker.
“New Zealand is the perfect destination for tailor-made travel, with varied landscapes and experiences always just a short distance away – you could be skiing in the morning, whale watching in the afternoon and star gazing in a dark sky reserve in the evening.”
Tourism New Zealand is the first national tourism organisation to host an event introducing tailor-made packages and resources to the industry in China. The events attracted 160 travel agents specialising in tailor-made travel across Beijing and Shanghai.
Tourism New Zealand was joined by Ngai Tahu Tourism who showcased a variety of New Zealand tourism products. Ngai Tahu also shared their experience hosting and tailoring their products to the recent Amway China incentive group visit.
China is New Zealand’s second largest tourism market with around 340,000 holiday visitors each year, contributing almost $1.3B to New Zealand’s economy.