New Zealand is now targeting wealthy Chinese tourists

Wealthy Chinese tourists attracted to gambling, luxury shopping, discreet boutique hotels and exclusive activities in Queenstown want to be treated like royalty, media attending Trenz were told yesterday.

The “Luxury New Zealand” project was launched in May by Auckland International Airport. The project’s aim was to encourage rich Chinese outbound travellers to choose New Zealand for their luxury leisure trips in premium airline cabins.

The marketing campaign involved a website, social media and direct marketing, partnership with the exclusive Shanghai Travelers’ Club and VIP events in China with Chinese “high net worth individuals”.

China Elite Focus chief executive officer Pierre Gervois painted a portrait of the average wealthy Chinese tourist, saying a typical high-end tourist had a shopping budget between $50,000 to $200,000, travelled first or business class to New Zealand, then in helicopters, limousines, or sports cars around the country.

The tourist would travel as part of a couple, or with a limited number of wealthy friends, would organise his own itinerary, carefully choose his activities and may consider investing in real estate.

The tourist was “seeking respect and consideration in accordance with his social status,” Mr Gervois said.

“The new generation of wealthy Chinese travellers are searching for exclusivity and extreme luxury as a way of differentiating themselves from the middle-class Chinese outbound traveller,” Mr Gervois told the Otago Daily Times, after the conference.

“I can see the potential in Queenstown. It has boutique hotels, hidden gems, and I’m sure Queenstown has a card to play with extreme luxury and discreet activities.”

Mr Gervois told the conference the “old-fashioned” concept of group tours was being steadily rejected by urban, affluent and westernised Chinese travellers. Rich Chinese applied for the more easily obtainable business visa, instead of leisure visas, although business would be a small part of their travel plans.

Travelling abroad was the favourite leisure activity of rich Chinese, followed by collecting luxury cars and buying luxury watches, he said.

Gambling, recognised by the euphemism “entertainment”, as well as top-brand shopping, wine tourism, golf, yachting, luxury weddings, hunting, horse races and polo were activities sought by wealthy Chinese, Mr Gervois said.

However, New Zealand was, so far, associated with outdoor pursuits, sports, purity, calm and family in China, which were already marketed to the Chinese middle-class.

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