New Zealand Tourism Receives Big Boost

  • Lockwood Smith

New Zealand tourism stands to gain huge benefits from a new agreement which grants access to increased numbers of Chinese visitors according to Tourism Minister Lockwood Smith.

The Government and the China National Tourism Administration yesterday signed an agreement which gives New Zealand "Approved Destination Status" for self-funded Chinese visitors.

The agreement allows designated tourist agencies in both countries who have met agreed criteria to arrange group tours, and is an indication of the high regard both countries hold for each other.

Lockwood Smith said that along with Australia, New Zealand is the first Western country to be accorded the sought-after status.

"This agreement is a real achievement for tourism in New Zealand and will allow the industry to develop a potentially huge new market," said Dr Smith.

"In a market as large as China it is difficult to estimate what the level of growth might be. But interest in visiting New Zealand is very strong, and we estimate that, within three years, tourism from China could be worth $60 million annually to this country.

Today's announcement also coincides with the Government's efforts to develop stronger links with China, and follows last year's announcement by Immigration Minister Tuariki Delamere that the New Zealand Immigration Service will open a new branch office in Shanghai in July.

The first Chinese visitors under the new agreement are expected to arrive in New Zealand in July.