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Interview: Honeymooners to spearhead new Chinese tourist wave to New Zealand


11:15, January 12, 2013


WELLINGTON, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government tourism agency has set in place the third stage of a unique three- pronged campaign to win more high-spending, long-staying Chinese visitors to the country, the most senior New Zealand tourism agency official in Asia said Friday.

The first benefit would be a boom in the number of Chinese honeymooners in New Zealand, Tourism New Zealand general manager Asia markets Tony Everitt said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

Tourism New Zealand's Premier Kiwi Partnership (PKP) program, launched Thursday, was the final leg of a "tripod" that was also supported by the growth in direct flights between New Zealand and China, and by New Zealand's brand ambassador in the Chinese mainland, actress Yao Chen.

Under the PKP program, the agency would work with 12 selected inbound tour operators and 18 China-based travel agents to develop and market innovative packages offering longer-stay, higher- quality itineraries in New Zealand.

Since Yao Chen's widely publicized wedding to fianc Cao Yu in the South Island ski resort of Queenstown in November last year, the dream of a New Zealand honeymoon had become "very aspirational " for young Chinese, he said.

Up to 30 million followers have tracked Yao's micro-blog on Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter, since she began working with Tourism New Zealand in August 2011, and the wedding had generated front-page headlines in China.

"She's incredibly influential and she was raving on Weibo about her wedding experience in New Zealand in addition to all the conventional media pickup," said Everitt.

"We are starting to see a big surge in interest in honeymoons in New Zealand, which will start to materialize this year, so New Zealanders will start seeing a lot more Chinese honeymooners from now on."

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