“Tailor-made or customised travel is a growing 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 Gregg Wafelbakker, Tourism New Zealand General Manager - Asia.
“Tailor-made travel gives Chinese independent travellers the structure of an organised tour with the freedom to experience more of what New Zealand has to offer.”
New Zealand leads the trend of customised travel growth at Ctrip. According to Ctrip, in the first half of 2018, total customised tour queries increased by 120 percent, while queries relating specifically to New Zealand customised tours increased by 150 percent.
"The relationship between Tourism New Zealand and Ctrip has huge value to the New Zealand tourism sector,” says Mr Wafelbakker.
“As the largest customised travel platform in China, through this relationship we’ll work together to enhance the capabilities of customised travel consultants across China and position New Zealand as the ideal customised travel destination."
Tailor-made and customised travel is a significant shift from the large group tours traditionally seen from the China market. Tour groups now make up just 35 percent of Chinese visitors, down from 39 percent in 2017. Free and Independent Travellers (FIT) now make up 39 percent of Chinese visitors, up from 32 percent in 2017.
Ctrip Customized Travel CEO, Ms. Xu Zhiyun says the partnership with Tourism New Zealand will help to highlight the range of attractions and regions New Zealand has to offer: “We will work with Tourism New Zealand to empower consultants through training and resources from official channel, presenting New Zealand's diverse resources through different routes.”
China is an incredibly important market for New Zealand’s visitor economy. As our second-largest visitor market after Australia, Chinese visitors have spent more than $1.66 billion in New Zealand over the past year. This is forecast to reach $3.06 billion per year by 2024.
This MOU follows the signing of the renewed strategic cooperation agreement between Tourism New Zealand and Ctrip in July 2018, ahead of the 2019 China New Zealand Year of Tourism.