Wednesday, May 22, 2024

New direct China-NZ flights to add 7,000 seats a month

Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins says new direct China-to-NZ airline routes will add thousands more seats per month, boosting tourism, international education and trade between the two nations.

The new China Southern routes include the reinstatement of the Guangzhou – Christchurch route and the introduction of three additional services between Guangzhou and Auckland.

“China remains an important tourist market to New Zealand, with borders open, tourists returning to our shores, and today’s announcement will make visiting from China even easier, and help drive our economic recovery,” Mr Hipkins said.

“These additional routes add to the direct air connections between our two countries, which are expected to grow to at least 80% of pre-COVID levels by September 2023.”

The increased capacity will translate to around 7,000 additional seats per month.

“We’re actively working to attract visitors globally, including from China, that match our tourism objectives and who will positively contribute to New Zealand’s economy recovery,” PM Hipkins said.

“The new direct services to Christchurch will particularly support South Island visitation and support ongoing tourism sector recovery. This is great news for the hundred thousand Kiwis directly employed in tourism and their communities around Aotearoa New Zealand who rely on the industry for local jobs and economic growth,” Peeni Henare said.

“Continuing to increase air connectivity is vital to our economic growth, especially in the China market as capacity improvements have positive run on effects by supporting international education and essential trade.”

Tourism Minister, Peeni Henare said international and domestic consumer awareness of environmental issues was increasing.

“It is vitally important that we continue preserving our natural environment as one of our key attractions as a world-class destination which is why the Government is supporting the Tourism Industry Transformation Plan, which addresses both workforce and environment challenges and opportunities for tourism to thrive in Aotearoa,” he said.

“China represents nearly a quarter of all our exports, was our second largest source of tourists pre-COVID and is a significant source of international students, so it’s a critical part of our economic recovery.

“Research shows that Chinese visitors tend to travel across the year and undertake a range of activities across the regions, this type of high-quality visitation sustainably supports the sector and communities across the motu,” said Mr Henare.

International visitors spent $3.2 billion into New Zealand in the first quarter of 2023, up from $1.8 billion in the December quarter. This $3.2 billion makes international tourism the second highest export this quarter behind dairy exports (milk powder, butter, and cheese – $5.2 billion).

The new air services are set to begin in November 2023.

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