Tourism New Zealand fosters China’s next generation of skiers

Chinese skiers are visiting New Zealand during China’s off-season to hone their skills on our South Island ski fields.

Tourism New Zealand partnered with Beijing Ski Association and Air China in May and June 2017 to promote New Zealand as “the perfect counter season ski destination for Chinese skiers”. 

The campaign delivered a nine percent increase in Air China passengers travelling to New Zealand in August and a three percent increase in July.

Tourism New Zealand’s General Manager Asia, Gregg Wafelbakker says the promotion was successful in showcasing off-peak, regional travel to our largest Asian visitor market.

“China is New Zealand’s second largest visitor market, yet Chinese visitors comprise only around 4 percent of total ski visitors to New Zealand – well behind Australia with 64 percent – this now looks set to increase over the coming years,” says Gregg.

“We know that more than half of ski visitors to New Zealand are on a return visit, and generally stay longer and spend more than your usual traveller, which makes these visitors highly valuable to our industry.”

In anticipation of the Beijing Winter Olympics just five years away, China is stepping up its efforts to boost the profile of snow sports and grow its reserves of professional skiers. The Beijing Ski Association is tasked with getting 8 million Chinese nationals skiing by the 2022 Winter Olympics and has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Winter Games New Zealand Trust to provide counter-season training for China’s snow sports teams ahead of the Games.

“As a result of the Winter Games-Beijing Ski Association MOU and the upcoming Winter Olympics, snow sports are gaining momentum in China and New Zealand is becoming known as the country’s destination of choice for counter-season training – particularly in the New Zealand spring,” says Gregg.

The New Zealand ski promotion tied in with the Beijing Ski Association’s sponsorship of the Beijing Youth New Zealand Ski Camp, held at Cardrona. Twenty-two children aged between 6-16 years old spent 15 days at the resort. Coverage of their trip was reported by 19 Chinese media outlets and an eight-minute video aired by Beijing Television’s Sports Channel. Air China reported its sales of New Zealand-based ski packages increased by almost a third over the promotion period.