Hon Murray McCully, Minister of Tourism

  • Murray McCully

New Zealand will come one step closer to opening up access to the large and lucrative tourism market in China this week with a visit by China's equivalent to New Zealand's Minister of Tourism.

Chairman He Guangwai flies in to Wellington early on Wednesday morning for his first visit to New Zealand at the invitation of Tourism Minister Murray McCully.

Mr McCully is seeking `approved destination' status for New Zealand which would mean New Zealand would become the first non-Asian destination for Chinese leisure travel. Currently Chinese Nationals are only permitted to holiday in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Macau.

Mr McCully says Chinese tourism to New Zealand is undeveloped but has enormous potential.

``Despite the present restriction for Chinese visitors to New Zealand, more than 15,000 visited our country last year, providing `business reasons' as their prime justification,'' he said.

Mr McCully recently met Chairman He during a visit to Beijing where he discussed New Zealand's potential as an approved destination.

``New Zealand appeals to the Chinese as they perceive it as friendly and safe to travel in''.

Chairman He will spend seven days in New Zealand following a one week visit to Australia. He will visit Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown, Rotorua and Auckland.