Insights: Ben Chapman, Tourism Partners Ltd on the China New Zealand Year of Tourism as an opportunity to build relationships with Chinese partners.

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Ben Chapman has a career spanning 20 years in tourism. He has held international travel trade development roles with both Destination Queenstown and Tourism New Zealand. Three years ago he established Tourism Partners Ltd(external link), providing international representation, hosted supplier visits to market and tourism business advisory services. His clients include luxury accommodation, premium golf courses, adventure activities and private guides. Ben specialises in developing business from premium travel trade partners in Asia for New Zealand tourism suppliers.

We're foruntate to have Ben share some of his insights on China New Zealand Year of Tourism website.

Nǐ hǎo,

The China New Zealand Year of Tourism (CNZYOT) puts the spotlight on a truly fascinating time in the tourism relationship between the two countries. 

With 2019 being the Year of The Pig, predicting a very positive year filled with good character and fortune, it is fitting that it is also the China New Zealand Year Of Tourism. 

Given the timing, it’s also a good chance to reflect on where we’ve come from, where we’re at and where we’re headed in terms of the tourism relationship between China and New Zealand. It’s a two-way street and this year through the CNZYOT we have a golden opportunity to strengthen economic ties through tourism for the benefit of both countries. 

Looking back several years, the initial growth of Chinese visitation to New Zealand was primarily through group tours, which provided a safe, organised way of exploring a destination. However, regulation changes to these tours, an emerging middle class, increased airline connectivity and competitive prices, streamlined visa processing, and targeted marketing campaigns have all contributed to a shift in the market to encourage more high value Chinese Free Independent Travellers (FIT) to visit New Zealand. This shift in visitor mix has meant some companies with low exposure to the China market five years ago, now count Chinese visitors among their top source markets. 

What then is the future of Chinese visitation? I believe we will see further growth in the visitor segments of adventure travel, special interest travel and luxury travel. Many Chinese visitors will likely return to New Zealand after their first trip travelling further into the regions, seeking authentic experiences and making meaningful connections with our people and place.  Increasing affluence, media influence and travel enabled by mobile technology, coupled with improved English language of Chinese visitors, will provide them with more confidence to explore. 

 IFLY Chinese New Year 20192

From a personal perspective, the CNZYOT provides an opportunity for Tourism Partners Ltd to turn up the volume on New Zealand’s tourism relationship with China and leverage planned activity for our clients. We will communicate the strong relationship and exciting tourism future we have together in person through sales missions, advisory services and short term contracts in China, as well as through our daily correspondence and online activity. 

If you’re new to the industry or are keen to learn more about the Chinese market, the CNZYOT is a great time to begin your involvement.  Here are some ways that you can start learning and engaging:

  • Chinese New Year events are planned around the country and exhibitions like the Terracotta Warriors at Te Papa are a must-visit.
  • Involve your team in welcoming guests at Chinese New Year, a little language and signage will go a long way to making visitors feel welcome.
  • Get involved in September’s New Zealand Chinese Language week and consider taking a mandarin language class.
  • Investigate Chinese mobile payment systems for your business. Paying by phone is the norm in China, and leading New Zealand tourism suppliers are already providing this service.

And finally, as your interest and confidence grows in the Chinese market, I encourage you to seek out and connect with like-minded industry people locally, nationally and internationally. Enjoy the China New Zealand Year Of Tourism 2019 and the Year of The Pig - be good, work hard and prosper.

Xīn Nián Kuài Lè!

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