Tourists from China brought $930 million to New Zealand

TLNZ websiteotal exports of goods and services were valued at 69.3 billion NZ dollars ($45.99 billion) in 2015, while imports totaled 66.9 billion NZ dollars ($44.4 billion), according to Statistics New Zealand.

Total exports rose 1.9 billion NZ dollars ($1.26 billion) from 2014, driven by a rise of 2.3 billion NZ dollars ($1.53 billion) in spending by international visitors and an increase of 895 million NZ dollars ($594.1 million) in exports of meat products, while the value of dairy exports fell by 3 billion NZ dollars ($1.99 billion).

“Although dairy exports were lower across the year, it has remained our top export earner. However, earnings from other export industries and markets have increased in significance, picking up the shortfall in dairy,” international statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said in a statement.

The growth in earnings from meat and travel was driven by key export markets, including China, the United States, and the European Union (EU).

Spending on personal travel by visitors from China had increased 1.4 billion NZ dollars ($929.32 million) since 2011 to 2.2 billion NZ dollars ($1.46 billion) in 2015, while visitors from Australia, New Zealand’s biggest tourism market, spent 1.9 billion NZ dollars ($1.26 billion) in 2015.

Pierre Gervois & Len Brown

Len Brown, Mayor of Auckland, and Pierre Gervois, CEO of China Elite Focus

“We see clearly the result of the combined efforts of all New Zealand actors in travel & tourism over the last years”, said Pierre Gervois, CEO of China Elite Focus, a New York & Shanghai  based company specialized in promoting international destinations for Chinese tourists. “The Luxury New Zealand campaigned launched in 2011 at the initiative of Auckland Airport, and managed by China Elite Focus, changed the perception of New Zealand. The new generation of affluent Chinese investors come now to buy real estate and invest in New Zealand companies, as well as spending in luxury travel experiences.

Last year, the EU was New Zealand’s largest source of imports, totaling 12.1 billion NZ dollars ($8.03 billion), followed by Australia on 11.3 billion NZ dollars ($7.5 billion) and China on 10.4 billion NZ dollars ($6.9 billion).

New Zealand’s largest import expense in 2015 was electrical machinery and equipment from China.

“The rise in electrical machinery and equipment was mostly due to consumer electronics such as mobile phones,” Attewell said.

“In recent years, cars from Japan or the EU had been our top import.”

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Could Asia become overly dependent on Chinese tourists?

Chinese-tourist-in-ThailandChinese tourism is changing the world’s tourism map. The biggest tourism destinations are looking to attract Chinese tourists, with new locations becoming more popular as Chinese visitors decide the best places to visit. As other Asian cities attract more Chinese tourists, experts are concerned that the economies in these destinations are becoming too reliant on Chinese travel.

The figures in the annual MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index have always seen some fluctuations, but recent years have introduced a defining variable into the mix: Chinese tourists.

China’s emerging middle class and growing numbers of increasingly affluent travellers have created a new tourism market. The big winners in terms of increased Chinese tourism have been some of the biggest cities in Asia. In fact, the recent report shows that the top ten fastest growing cities include cities from most regions of the world, excluding Western Europe and North America.

The report ranks the world’s 132 most popular cities in terms of international visitor numbers and spending. London is still controlling the top spot, but big Asian cities are climbing up in the rankings.
Over 13% of the visitors to these Asia-Pacific destinations were Chinese tourists, the largest foreign tourist group in the region. Five years ago, the figure was only around 6%.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand says that Chinese visitors to the country stood at 4.6 million in 2014. By the end of this year, authorities expect the arrivals to increase by almost 40%.
An increase in Chinese tourism has not meant only an increase in pure visitor numbers, but also surge in the revenue the cities are able to attract from tourism. Bangkok, the Thai city ranking on the top spot in Asia-Pacific destinations, has visitor spending of $12.4 billion. The city is currently growing its visitor spending the fastest, with 11.8% growth between 2014 and 2015.

New Zealand, following a targeted promotional and media campaign made with China Elite Focus in partnership with the Shanghai Travelers’ Club magazine from 2011 to 2013, achieved remarkable results with affluent Chinese travelers arriving at Auckland Airport, and flying in premium cabins. “New Zealand is now seen by China’s elite travelers as the premium destination in Asia-Pacific”, said Pierre Gervois, CEO of China Elite Focus. “We have worked extremely well with Auckland Airport to create the Luxury New Zealand campaign and change the perception of New Zealand in order to attract more sophisticated and wealthy Chinese travelers”.

While Chinese tourism can greatly enhance the economies of these Asian cities, there is growing concern that some of the cities might become too reliant on Chinese tourism.
 
Eric Schneider, Group Head at MasterCard Advisors of the Asia Pacific Region, told gbtimes that tourism bodies must look to appeal a broader audience to guarantee ‘long term resilience’. “You must always be cautious not to put all your eggs in one basket,” Schneider said.
But China’s outbound tourism has still much more room to grow. According to Schneider, around 5% of Chinese citizens currently have passports. In a country with population of 1.357 billion, the potential for more outbound tourism is incredible. “It is inevitable that, as the Chinese middle class grows and begins to travel more often, they make up a bigger proportion of tourists to cities around the world,” Schneider pointed out.

It is certain that the power of Chinese tourists will continue to grow in importance in the coming years. For Asian cities, as well as for other big world cities, it is essential to maintain a diversified economy – not to rely too much on tourism or Chinese tourism particularly – while understanding the potential of attracting this new tourism powerhouse.

Source: GB Times, Krista Lomu

New Zealand urges to attract affluent Chinese tourists

Pierre Gervois, CEO of China Elite Focus, speaking at TRENZ 2012

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, CEO of China Elite Focus, 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.”