The Year of Tourism provides chance 'to turn up the volume'
01/16/2019|2:30:20 PM|RNZ

The government wants to capitalise on the boom in one of New Zealand's largest visitor markets by joining forces with China to promote tourism between the two countries.

The 2019 China New Zealand Year of Tourism was signed in 2017 in a bid to build relationships, improve marketing and economic ties.

Both countries stood to benefit from the Year of Tourism, a partnership between the New Zealand and Chinese governments, said Lisa Li, managing director of CTS Tours.

Government figures show about 450,000 people from China visited last year.

By 2024, that's expected to boom to more than 800,000 arrivals.

Rotorua Canopy Tours general manager Paul Button said the city used to be known for Chinese group tours, but now the market was changing.

While Chinese tourists represented only a small market for the tour company, he said they were the fastest growing visitor group.

Speaking from Shanghai, Tourism New Zealand Asia general manager Gregg Wafelbakker said China remained an important market.

By 2024, it is predicted to overtake Australia as New Zealand's biggest visitor market by spend, reaching $3.1 billion annually.

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