New China-New Zealand air routes to boost capacity for tourists

Prime Minister Tourism

New direct China to New Zealand airline routes will add significant capacity with thousands more seats available per month, supporting tourism, international education and trade.

The new China Southern routes include the reinstatement of the Guangzhou – Christchurch route and the introduction of three additional services between Guangzhou and Auckland.

“China remains an important tourist market to New Zealand, with borders open, tourists returning to our shores, and today’s announcement will make visiting from China even easier, and help drive our economic recovery,” Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said.

“These additional routes add to the direct air connections between our two countries, which are expected to grow to at least 80% of pre-COVID levels by September 2023.

"The increased capacity will bring approximately an additional 7,000 seats per month.

“We’re actively working to attract visitors globally, including from China, that match our tourism objectives and who will positively contribute to New Zealand’s economy recovery,” Chris Hipkins said.

“The new direct services to Christchurch will particularly support South Island visitation and support ongoing tourism sector recovery. This is great news for the hundred thousand Kiwis directly employed in tourism and their communities around Aotearoa New Zealand who rely on the industry for local jobs and economic growth,” Peeni Henare said.

“Continuing to increase air connectivity is vital to our economic growth, especially in the China market as capacity improvements have positive run on effects by supporting international education and essential trade.

International and domestic consumer awareness of environmental issues is increasing. It is vitally important that we continue preserving our natural environment as one of our key attractions as a world-class destination which is why the Government is supporting the Tourism Industry Transformation Plan, which addresses both workforce and environment challenges and opportunities for tourism to thrive in Aotearoa.

“China represents nearly a quarter of all our exports, was our second largest source of tourists pre-COVID and is a significant source of international students, so it’s a critical part of our economic recovery,” Peeni Henare said.

“Research shows that Chinese visitors tend to travel across the year and undertake a range of activities across the regions, this type of high-quality visitation sustainably supports the sector and communities across the motu.”

International visitors spent $3.2 billion into New Zealand in the first quarter of 2023, up from $1.8 billion in the December quarter. This $3.2 billion makes international tourism the second highest export this quarter behind dairy exports (milk powder, butter, and cheese – $5.2 billion).

The new services are set to begin in November 2023.