Tourism showcase for Chinese agents
Asia's largest airline is bringing 250 of China's top travel agents to New Zealand to familiarise them with the experience of a typical Kiwi summer.
China Southern Airlines has chosen New Zealand to host its annual "agent incentive" event in December, with the agents travelling in style on the airline's new Airbus A380 aircraft.
The agents will spend five days visiting various tourist destinations around Auckland and the North Island, including Waiheke Island, the Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Hobbiton in Matamata and the Waitomo Caves, according to a statement from Auckland International Airport.
The airline will also hold a gala dinner at Auckland's Viaduct Events Centre for the agents, which will be attended by New Zealand tourism industry and business leaders.
In addition to showing off New Zealand's tourist attractions, Auckland Aiport said the trip would provide opportunities for tourism and trade talks between officials from the two countries.
China Southern Airlines flies daily between Auckland and Guangzhou which is China's third largest city, a major importing and exporting hub and a tourism gateway to the rest of southern China.
Since China Southern began flying the route to Auckland last November arrivals from China have grown nearly 40 per cent and the world's most populous nation now takes second spot, behind Australia, as Auckland Airport's highest inbound market.
China Southern Airlines' New Zealand general manager Henry Dai said the selection of New Zealand to host the event showed his airline was committed to developing its services to here.
The trip will allow the travel agents to experience first-hand what New Zealand has to offer and therefore increase the opportunity for third-party endorsements to future travellers, he said.
"The visit from such a large group of travel opinion leaders will provide huge potential for future promotion of New Zealand in this key outbound travel market," said the airport's general manager for its aeronautical and commercial divisions Glenn Wedlock.