Auckland Airport strengthens China connection

NEW ZEALAND – Auckland Airport has hailed the development of significantly improved air links between China and New Zealand, and the acceleration to daily air services by China Southern between the countries.

The move is expected to deliver 50,000 additional visitors per year, potentially generating NZD$150 million of additional value to New Zealand. It should also be a valuable boost to business for travel retailers JR/Duty Free and DFS.

The move is supported by an expanded visa administrative presence and a commitment to improved processing by the New Zealand Government.

Auckland Airport CEO Simon Moutter said: “The announcement from China Southern Airlines that they intend to increase to daily flights later this year is a massive show of their confidence in New Zealand, and will deliver enormous economic opportunities and benefits to the country.”

The Honourable Jonathan Coleman, the Associate Minister of Tourism and Minister of Immigration, has also announced that Immigration New Zealand will shortly have a Visa Acceptance Centre operational in Guangzhou, and will expand its presence in Beijing and Shanghai.

The arriving inaugural flight of China Southern Airlines was greeted at Auckland Airport on Saturday by the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

“The importance of the support of the New Zealand Government in helping to secure this outcome cannot be understated. China Southern Airlines has brought nearly 100 tourism and trade VIPs with them from Guangzhou in order to sample some of the best experiences that New Zealand has to offer, and the commitment from everyone in industry and government to work in partnership and friendship with them has been vital,” said Simon Moutter.

“This huge increase in services from China Southern Airlines to their Guangzhou hub, along with the recently expanded Air New Zealand services to Beijing and Shanghai, opens up even more of China to New Zealand tourism and trade. It also offers travellers access to the rapidly expanding China Southern Airlines network, including a planned direct connection to London from Guangzhou,” Moutter added.

“China and its people are increasingly important to New Zealand. In 2010, Chinese tourist arrivals increased +20% to 123,000, and they are now spending on average NZ$300 per night, more than European, North American and other Asian tourists. We expect this to grow as the Chinese become more confident travellers. This new service is particularly important to New Zealand as China has already become the number one tourism market by value to Australia at AUD$3 billion.”

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