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China can't top Aus tourism growth to NZ

China may be one of the fastest growing travel markets but it has a long way to go before it can overtake Australia as New Zealand’s number one market, according an industry leader.

China may be one of the fastest growing travel markets but it has a long way to go before it can overtake Australia as New Zealand’s number one market, according an industry leader.

New Zealand’s latest visitor statistics revealed 248,784 Chinese travellers visited the country in the year ending October 2014. This was a six percent increase on the previous year.

This figure, however, doesn’t come close to the 1.24 million Australians that visited the land of the Hobbits during the same period. Up 3.3 percent on the previous 12 months.

Although the Chinese market is strong, New Zealand’s Tourism Industry Association (TIA) chief executive Chris Roberts told KarryOn, he does not expect the Chinese market to exceed Australia anytime soon.

However, growth from China is quickly rising.

Image:  Rawpixel/Shutterstock

More Chinese travellers are heading to New Zealand, but they won’t top Australia as the largest inbound market anytime soon. Image: Rawpixel/Shutterstock

2020 tourism forecasts predict Chinese visitor arrivals will double by 2020 to 509,000 a year.

This will be reached through new initiatives such as the government’s recent decision to allow Chinese holidaymakers to work for the same employer for up to six months. This is up from the previous three-month restriction.

Mr Roberts said Chinese language skills are highly sought after in New Zealand because they help enhance the visitor experience for Chinese travellers.

“Chinese visitors will have a better experience, encouraging them to stay longer and spend more, and then spread the word about New Zealand as a friendly, welcoming destination when they return home.”

Chris Roberts, Tourism Industry Association chief executive

Also expected to have a positive impact on growth is Air New Zealand’s agreement with Air China for an additional service between Shanghai and Auckland.

Australian visitors on the other hand are expected to exceed 1.6 million a year by 2020.

‘TIA doesn’t foresee that Chinese visitor arrivals will overtake Australia in the foreseeable future.”

Chris Roberts, Tourism Industry Association chief executive

Have you crossed the Tasman to New Zealand? What was your favourite spot?