Christchurch the fastest growing point of entry for Chinese visitors

New statistics reveal Christchurch Airport to be New Zealand’s fastest growing point of entry for Chinese visitors.

The figures from Statistics New Zealand show Christchurch to have had a 60% increase in Chinese passengers in the past six months.

General Manager of Aeronautical Business Development, Matthew Findlay, says the statistics underline the fascination Chinese travellers have discovered for the South Island.

 “At these growth rates, modelling indicates that more Chinese will travel via international hubs than domestic ones to travel to and from the South Island,” he says.

“The new Chinese government travel regulations of last October discourage the low-value very short stay products which fuelled early growth from China. Visitors to the South Island spend more and stay longer on average – the average South Island stay is 25 days versus 13 days in the North Island . This highlights the enduring value the South Island offers New Zealand’s tourism outcomes.”

Mr Findlay says the increase in Chinese tourism expenditure in the South Island benefits more than just tourism.

“These new figures clearly show the South Island as the site of the fastest growing Chinese expenditure in the country, up 74% year on year. There is no doubt Christchurch Airport’s growth means the gains from Chinese tourism will be widely spread across all regions in the South Island, which is great news for regional economies and employment.”

Mr Findlay says as well as tourism, many other South Island industry sectors will benefit from improving visitor volumes and increasing air networks.

“Increased passenger numbers drive increased aircraft sizes and frequencies,” he says. “Because Christchurch Airport can accommodate all aircraft types, visitor growth will open up export and economic growth opportunities for South Island producers to export high value product to fast growing Asian markets.

“A recent PWC report estimated South Island businesses and regional economies are missing out on exporting as much as 17,000 tonnes of premium value products annually, because the air capacity doesn’t yet exist to export it.

 “There is a symbiotic relationship between growing visitor numbers to Christchurch and unlocking what appears to be a large amount of untapped economic export potential across the South Island’s many regions. Unlocking that potential is great news for the New Zealand economy.”