NZ lures record number of Chinese visitors
23 May 2013
New Zealand's clean, green image is a key reason why a record number of Chinese tourists are flocking to New Zealand, a UC Chinese language lecturer says.
New Zealand’s clean, green image is a key reason why a record number of Chinese tourists are flocking to New Zealand, a University of Canterbury Chinese language lecturer says.
A record number of visitors arrived in New Zealand last month, with Chinese tourists showing the biggest increase. Arrivals in April reached 200,600 - up 3 per cent from the same time last year and beating the previous record April high of 197,800, according to Statistics New Zealand.
UC’s Associate Professor Adam Lam says New Zealand is an obvious choice for Chinese tourists who are mainly middle class or official workers in cities that have recently experienced the worst air pollution in history.
"Chinese tourists appreciate New Zealand’s space and rural landscape. Not only do we have a peaceful and safe life in New Zealand, but we have demonstrated our love for peace in dealing with international crises. This is appreciated by Chinese people.
"Also Tourism New Zealand has been using top profile Chinese actors and other celebrities in China as the country’s tourist ambassadors in recent years including Yao Chen, a famous actress who organised her high profile wedding in New Zealand last year.
"In the South Island, Christchurch and Queenstown are usually their two must-visit spots. Chinese tourists also enjoy locations which offer typical New Zealand experiences, such as bungy jumping and whale watching,’’ Professor Lam says.
Prime Minister John Key visited China last month during and urged more New Zealand students here to consider learning Mandarin.
Professor Lam says UC has more than 100 students learning Chinese. The Confucius Institute at UC offers evening courses for the community, with more than 30 students in its current roll.
"With our help, the number of students learning Chinese in South Island schools has increased from about 500 in 2009 to more than 3200 this year.
"For New Zealand’s future and to maintain our education at an international level, it is high time that we reintroduce the second foreign language requirement in our school certificate system. For economic reasons, Chinese language will obviously become a popular choice for more New Zealand students,’’ Professor Lam says.
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