Chinese 'influencers' promote Wellington, Tasman, Nelson and Marlborough in new campaign
A new tourism campaign aiming to lure more Chinese visitors to the Wellington, Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough regions will launch this week in China.
The 'Heart of the Long White Cloud' campaign features film director Wu Ershan and novelist and wine and food broadcaster Shu Qiao in a series of eight short videos showcasing cultural, culinary and outdoors experiences through interactions with well-known New Zealanders, including chef Al Brown and Weta Workshop's Sir Richard Taylor.
"Wellington and the top of the South is part of Tourism New Zealand's new strategy that focuses on encouraging tourists to visit more parts of the country," Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) chief executive Stephen England-Hall said.
"China is our second biggest visitor market and rapidly becoming a market of independent travellers, so there is plenty of scope to encourage them to explore new routes and travel at different times of the year."
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Last year, a record 409,000 Chinese holidaymakers visited our shores, spending $1.7 billion.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has forecast Chinese visitors could reach 1 million a year by 2022.
England-Hall said the regions ticked the boxes for visitors who were chasing culture, food and wine, the outdoors and wildlife.
For the past year TNZ has been promoting the regions as a new itinerary for Chinese free independent travellers. The promotion has focused on getting the Chinese to visit in off-peak seasons.
"Wu Ershan and Shu Qiao complement the regions perfectly. Shu is an extremely well known food and wine writer and Wu is a very well-regarded film director. Both are influential among our target Chinese visitors who we know are interested in culture, food and wine and outdoor activities," England-Hall said.
Operators such as Weta Workshop and Te Papa in Wellington, Wilson Abel Tasman Tours in Nelson and the Marlborough Tour Company had all seen a boost in Chinese visitor numbers since the campaign started, England-Hall said.
Robin Corbett of Wellington's Hammond Tours said over the past year the company had invested more than $50,000 into technology to offer commentary in Mandarin and other languages, as well as bringing in Chinese speaking guides.
"We've definitely seen increases in Chinese patronage since these introductions, and our commitment to this market is ongoing," she said.
Marlborough Tour Company general manager Scott Mckenzie, said the growing Chinese visitor market offered three great attributes to Marlborough.
"Firstly this is a market that travels to the regions to seek out unique experiences.
"It is a market that spends well on quality and, more importantly, it's a market that isn't influenced by seasonality. In fact, the Chinese enjoy our New Zealand seasons, the changes in colours, the changes in temperature, and the uniquely different experiences to be had in the different seasons.
"This is key for Marlborough that struggles with extremes in visitor seasonality and the challenges that seasonality creates for tourism businesses," Mckenzie said.