18 June 2016
By Julia Panfilo, Trade Marketing Manager, Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism
TRENZ was a great success with Canterbury operators feeling more upbeat about the increased volume of business and buyers demonstrating improved, more positive attitude towards Christchurch. CCT conducted over 200 appointments (including one specifically for the Mackenzie region and a China streams) with buyers from 31 countries during TRENZ.
Key findings from General Appointments
- Most buyers reported increases in bookings. The outlook for the next 12 months is optimistic due to improved economic environment in many markets and high demand for New Zealand as a desired and safe destination.
- Key market trends – There has been high growth in the holiday arrivals from UK and Germany. There is still uncertainty in the Japanese and Thai markets around the earthquakes. The USA and Canada are in growth mode but cautious about including Christchurch. South East Asian and Indian markets have a huge potential and are positive about Christchurch stays. South America is an emerging and developing market, CCT are yet to see growth in our region. The China market is dominating growth and set to continue – further feedback below.
- Itinerary content varies depending on the market with the majority featuring Christchurch for 1 or 2 nights (predominantly arriving in/out of Christchurch).
- Numbers of pax staying in the city is also increasing. However, some agents are still concerned about the inner city experience, which is hindering the increase in the length of stay. CCT are yet to see the commitment to 2 nights plus in Christchurch from most trade.
- The agents were very pleased to hear about the new projects underway and new properties opening next year.
- Overall buyers are satisfied with the level of accommodation properties in Christchurch with particular mention around the Sudima upgrade. However, there is still a need for more accommodation within the Christchurch and the Canterbury region. Room rates have increased and the shortage of Mackenzie region accommodation is presenting an issue with many choosing just to pass through and stay further south or stay in Christchurch longer. This may be one of the contributing factors for the increase in the number of nights in Christchurch next summer.
- Agents seem more open minded about the regional dispersal and are showing creativity around seasonal itineraries; Top of the South itineraries are gaining interest due to accommodation shortage in the Mackenzie region and further south.
- There is a lot of demand for sightseeing product, unique accommodation, high end tours, evening activities, garden tours and new product in general.
Feedback from Chinese Appointment
CCT had a dedicated Chinese stream at TRENZ 2016, where the China team had one-on-one appointments with 49 Chinese and Taiwanese buyers. Chinese translation service was also offered on -site by CCT for Canterbury operators who had appointments with Chinese buyers.
- Feedback is quite positive from the China market with an increase in Chinese FITs staying longer and spreading to more regions in Canterbury.
- The 49 buyers, from both traditional and online travel agencies, are mainly from major cities in China including Guangzhou, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Beijing and Chengdu.
- There has been a high demand for new accommodation, attractions, activities and itineraries in Christchurch and Canterbury.
- Chinese buyers from Shanghai and Guangzhou are seeking truly kiwi experiences and personalised itineraries in South Island while a great number of those from Beijing have less knowledge about Christchurch and Canterbury and their clients stay shorter in the region and the South Island at large.
- The Chinese buyers are frustrated with the accommodation capacities in Christchurch, Lake Tekapo and Aoraki/Mount Cook Village in summer.
- Christchurch is still seen more as a gateway to South Island and not as a destination as the transitional city is less favoured by Chinese buyers and visitors. However, with more accommodation under way in the central city and on the airport campus, confidence will increase.
- The regions such as Kaikoura and Hanmer Springs that have operators with Chinese speaking staff have a higher profile among Chinese buyers.