Acting General Manager Asia, Kate Necklen, says; "As with all markets, there are certain things we can do to help ensure visitors find it easy to plan and book their holidays as well as have an outstanding experience once they are here. In China, this applies to two very different markets - that of group tours and the increasing number of FIT (Free and Independent Traveler) visitors."
Ensuring New Zealand delivers a high quality holiday experiences is a key focus.
"With good air connections to the region, improvements to the immigration process and strong engagement with trade in-market, we are in a really good position to focus on developing our product offering to better meet the needs of these market segments in China. These include those actively looking to book a holiday for an adventure and spend more time exploring New Zealand by themselves.
"Our marketing activity targets these segments and communicates the range of activities and experiences New Zealand can offer to meet their needs."
A particular area of attention has also been to improve the visa application and approval process. Tourism New Zealand worked alongside Immigration New Zealand in China to make the process quicker and smoother, aiming to reduce the length of time of individual applications to a similar timeframe as group bookings - which are typically quicker due to them being supported by Approved Destination Status (ADS) agents.
"The introduction of visitor acceptance centres, where an outsource company receive and check information to ensure complete applications are supplied to Immigration New Zealand, has made a significant impact on streamlining the process. Opening in August 2011, the centres were well timed to help over the busy booking period for the Chinese New Year."
Tourism New Zealand is now working with Immigration New Zealand to increase the numbers of ADS agents, who can then support all travelers, both group bookings and FIT, to get visas processed.
For more information on the China market and our latest activity see the Market & Stats section.