February 3 marks the first anniversary of New Zealand closing its borders to tourists from China.
Pre-pandemic, China was New Zealand's second largest-tourism market after Australia and spending by 390,000 Chinese visitors in 2019 hit $1.7 billion.
Although some Chinese managed to get their holiday in before the border closure, and some opted to extend their stay, it’s estimated the loss in Chinese tourist spending over the past year is in the region of $1 billion.
Businesses focussed on China were the first to experience the cold hard economic reality of Covid-19, and many survivors are still doing it tough.
Arrivals from China plummeted by almost 46,000 in February 2020 and Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) acting chief executive Rene de Monchy recalls board discussions on how to “re-energise” the Chinese market once they could travel again.
TNZ initially attempted to replace the Chinese with visitors from the US and the UK before the rapid spread of the virus globally led to a full border closure in March.
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