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NZ urges to attract affluent Chinese tourists

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Visiting tourism experts from Asia are urging New Zealand to focus on attracting high-end Chinese travellers through premium marketing and by gaining a better understanding of the market's potential - forecast to reach 80 million outbound travellers by 2013.

Supporting this view is Auckland Airport with the launch of a highly-targeted premium programme as part of its Ambition 2020 initiative outlined last week, which aims to showcase "luxury New Zealand" to young wealthy Chinese. The airport has also launched complimentary three-day "China Ready" workshops designed to help tourism businesses learn more about marketing to and servicing Chinese travellers.

Speaking at TRENZ as part of the Auckland Airport International Speaker Series and as a partner in the Airport's premium programme, Pierre Gervois provided conference delegates with insights into targeting the new generation of affluent Chinese.

"Chinese people love to travel, and given China's location in the world they have unlimited holiday options to choose from. New Zealand is a similar flying time to other must-see destinations such as London, Paris, New York and Las Vegas. That said, only a relatively small number of Chinese can afford a long-haul holiday, and those that can demand luxury over camping and outdoors holidays."

"To compete, New Zealand needs to be less shy about marketing its premium offer and dare to sell to this affluent audience. The super wealthy in China - about 0.5 per cent of the population - would only consider a minimum $US50,000 a week holiday package or it's not of the right value for them," he says.

Through his company China Elite Focus, Mr Gervois and Auckland Airport's promotion of luxury tourism in New Zealand to affluent Chinese travellers uses premium marketing and targeted social media to reach this extremely discerning audience.

"Luxury New Zealand is a highly-targeted initiative designed to reach Chinese travellers interested in New Zealand and luxury travel. Predicated heavily on social media, Luxury New Zealand was able to tap into an exclusive invitation-only network of very wealthy young Chinese. Since launching in May 2011 the feedback has been positive with many I've spoken to pleasantly surprised to learn New Zealand is a luxury destination, not just a family-orientated place, good for camping, biking and so on."

Also speaking at TRENZ was Trevor Lee of TravConsult, specialists in international customer service and tourism development who are also running the China Ready workshops for Auckland Airport. Mr Lee says New Zealand, like many markets, needs to better understand what Chinese are looking for when they travel.

"There are more than one million millionaires in China and another 60,000 Chinese who are classified as 'super-rich', with more than $15 million dollars' worth of assets to their names. These people expect a level of service and product quality when they travel. Our advice to New Zealand tourism businesses is to invest what you can now to enrich your offer to suit Asian markets including accommodating multiple languages and different cultures."

"Not all Chinese travellers are the same but their language is by-in-large universal. Where possible, ensure your product can communicate with them from basic translated factsheets to multi-language audio guides and personal translators. A Chinese traveller isn't going to truly appreciate an $800 scenic helicopter trip if they can't understand what they are seeing or experiencing," says Mr Lee.

Auckland Airport has some ambitious targets to significantly grow the value New Zealand sees from Chinese travellers as part of its Ambition 2020 initiative.

The Airport believes by 2020 Asia, especially China, will provide the largest growth potential both in visitor arrivals and in the amount they spend when they're here. Asia could provide $2.9 billion of the projected $8.5 billion in inbound tourism value by 2020, with China providing the lion's share at $1.5 billion.

Glenn Wedlock, Auckland Airport General Manager Aeronautical Commercial, says China is a vital market for New Zealand with annual growth of about 20 per cent likely.

"Auckland Airport has a number of initiatives in place to promote New Zealand to Chinese travellers including the Luxury New Zealand initiative, as well as our work in growing air links with China. We are also investing in helping the industry become better equipped to market to and service the Chinese traveller through the launch of our market intelligence workshops."

The Auckland Airport China Workshops will help tourism businesses understand the Chinese consumer better including; learning about generational, regional, socio-eco differences and travel trends, Chinese culture and business etiquette, and meeting and exceeding their service expectations.

Launched at TRENZ, the complimentary three-day China workshops will run in Auckland (28-30 May), Rotorua (11-13 June) and Queenstown (18-20 June). They are valued at $2000 per attendee for up to 20 people in each location.

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