Bid to attract Chinese tourists

Last updated 12:38 17/06/2014

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The head of Nelson's regional tourism promotions organisation hopes that her part in a trade event in China will create spin-offs for this region through tourist growth.

Nelson Tasman Tourism chief executive Lynda Keene has returned from Guangzhou where she took part in a special tourism event, Kia Ora South Guangzhou, organised by Christchurch International Airport and Tourism New Zealand. The aim is to attract more Chinese visitors to the South Island, and ultimately to Nelson and Tasman, she said.

The event was developed by Christchurch Airport in 2012 to partner with South Island regional tourism organisations to drive greater visitor numbers from China and southeast Asia after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

Guangzhou is southern China's largest city. At the 2010 census, the city's administrative area had a population of 12 million, making it China's third largest city.

Christchurch Airport general manager of aeronautical business development Matthew Findlay said the airport had seen a 19 per cent increase in passenger numbers over the past year.

"Guangzhou is a major economic hub for south China and the opportunity to increase tourism and business links between our countries has the ability to generate positive benefits for years to come," Findlay said.

Keene said Nelson Tasman Tourism was serious about welcoming China travellers to the region.

She said it made sense to partner with Christchurch Airport to help increase the region's profile.

The inaugural Kia Ora South event also included an evening business function with New Zealand consular general, Rebecca Needham, New Zealand's trade commissioner, John Cochrane, and Guangzhou agencies that were keen to establish new business links with South Island enterprises.

Keene said the function presented opportunities for businesses in the Nelson Tasman region to engage with the Guangzhou market.

"What often happens at events like South is that tourism becomes the initiator for other conversations that can provide benefit for other business sectors," she said.

Findlay said they hoped to make it an annual event and continue the partnership established with Nelson Tasman Tourism and other RTOs.

This week NTT will be attending a national corporate and conference trade event in Auckland to promote the region to 50 conference, incentive and association organisers. The attendance will include presentations to 30 international business event buyers.

"The region has potential to grow the business event market, which is integral to increasing visits over the shoulder and winter period," Keene said.

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- The Nelson Mail

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