As part of the Year of Tourism, we want to share how New Zealand is using this important opportunity in unique ways. Here Wellington's Regional Economic Development Agency highlights the importance of the China New Zealand's Year of Tourism to the Capital.

The Wellington region is known as one of the friendliest in New Zealand, so we’re pleased to join in with the China-New Zealand Year of Tourism celebrations which mark an opportunity for our region to welcome more Chinese tourists to the capital.

You only need to take a walk down Wellington’s waterfront to see how the city has embraced China, with Xia Nan’s colourful Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors(external link) exhibition set up on Te Papa’s forecourt and the real, iconic sculptures on display in our national museum.

Wellingtonians and visitors alike have enjoyed the opportunity to come face to face with some of the most ancient items in the world.

Geraint Martin, Te Papa’s Chief Executive said the national museum is very honoured to have some of China’s greatest treasures on display at Te Papa.

“The landmark exhibition Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality(external link) is a huge hit with our visitors and it is fast on track to be one of the most popular. 

“Visitors have loved the close encounter with these precious taonga and we’ve enjoyed welcoming a large number of the local Chinese community and being part of the Chinese New Year Celebrations.” 

The exhibition is on until 22 April and there is a raft of interesting talks and events lined up to give greater insight into China and its cultural heritage. 

Although China is New Zealand’s second-largest tourism market, with just shy of 450,000 visitors a year, only 12 per cent of these visitors come to the Wellington region.

Recognising the importance of this visitor market, WREDA has formed a partnership(external link) with Wellington’s largest tourism organisations Te Papa, Kiwirail, Weta Studio Tours and, Wellington International Airport to grow the number of visitors from China and South-East Asia. This will see a $2.5 million funding boost injected over the next 5 years.

The partnership aims to make sure Chinese visitors gain awareness of Wellington’s growing variety of tourism activities, retail hot spots, cafes and restaurants.

WREDA and Immigration New Zealand have also recently signed an MOU to work closely to attract global skills and talent to complement our regional workforce, attract migrant investment and innovation, and attract students and visitors to our welcoming and thriving region. This will include working to attract high-value Chinese visitors to the region and continue working with Chinese airlines to strengthen our relationships.

The CNZYoT website has provided a platform for NZ tourism businesses to understand more about the Chinese visitor including how they purchase. WREDA have partnered with Christchurch Airport’s South store(external link) which grants Wellington tourism businesses the ability to use Fliggy – Alibaba’s travel portal.

It also means Wellington businesses and organisations will have greater access to Alipay – the electronic payment system operated by Alibaba. Statistics show around nine in every 10 Chinese consumers prefer to pay via their mobile phone, so agreements like these mean greater opportunities for our Wellington businesses.

From art, culture and tourism to partnerships designed to strengthen our economic and tourism ties, Wellington is predicting a successful China-New Zealand Year of Tourism.

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