14 March 2016
By Cissy Chen, China Marketing Coordinator, Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism
In March, Chinese inbound operators discovered the South Island’s top half on familiarisation tours organised by a group of six regional tourism organisations. This cluster includes Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism (CCT), Destination Kaikoura, Hurunui Tourism, Tourism West Coast, Destination Marlborough and Nelson Tasman Tourism, supported by Christchurch Airport.
The weekend of famils for Auckland-based operators was part of a series of successful Top of the South Island (TOTS) initiatives which started two years ago.
Our TOTS cluster has been working collectively to promote this area as a diverse touring route that will appeal to the Chinese flexible independent traveller (FIT) and small group market. We have seen significant success with a number of key travel trade partners adopting the itinerary, and visitor numbers to all the regions growing considerably.Rowan Worner, General Manager Marketing, Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism
From 4 to 7 March the TOTS cluster hosted 10 Auckland-based inbound operators on one of two TOTS itineraries, Christchurch – West Coast – Nelson and Christchurch – Hanmer Springs – Kaikoura – Marlborough.
What is the purpose of promoting the "Top of the South"?
The project aims to direct Chinese visitors away from the main tourist routes during busy peak periods, leading to a rise in visitor satisfaction.
The organisations attending included Worldway Travel, Taichung Travel, NZ Express Travel, Kingdom Tour, Pan Pacific, KAD International Travel Service and YNZ Holiday.
Ren Dong from Worldway Travel says the familiarisations highlighted the excellent product and variety on offer across the top of the South Island.
This has been a fantastic chance to experience so many South Island gems - everything from wine making to whale watching, glaciers to golden sand, and national parks to hot springs – and we see huge growth potential for touring here.Ren Dong, Worldway Travel
As a follow-up, the TOTS cluster is using SkyKiwi to promote the famil and the itinerary through content on their homepage and WeChat channels next week. As New Zealand’s biggest Chinese website it is used as a major source of information by many Chinese inbound operators, Rowan Worner says.