Tourism Minister, Peeni Henare recently met with Chinese counterpart, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Hu Heping, to reaffirm the 2019 Tourism Cooperation Arrangement between New Zealand and the People’s Republic of China.
The meeting was part of a business and Māori delegation to China, led by Prime Minister Chris Hipkins.
The arrangement between the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China, highlights the countries’ cooperation which includes knowledge-sharing, exploring opportunities for cultural exchange and ideas on how tourism can enhance international linkages with other export sectors, said Minister Henare.
It was agreed at the end of the 2019 China-New Zealand Year of Tourism, but opportunities to cooperate on tourism priorities were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
“Our discussions on this visit covered the importance of this arrangement, which emphasises the importance of the two-way tourism relationship. China remains one of our most important tourism markets, and was our second largest international visitor market pre-pandemic,” said Mr Henare.
“We also covered the re-establishment of regular dialogue between officials and Ministers, where priorities for both tourism sectors were discussed including shared aspirations on sustainable tourism.
“A lot of our priorities and values in tourism are shared by China such as connecting culture and tourism and protecting the natural environment. In New Zealand, the Government is supporting the Tourism Industry Transformation Plan, which addresses both workforce and environment challenges and opportunities for tourism to thrive in Aotearoa.
“We know Chinese tourists visit Aotearoa New Zealand to enjoy our beautiful natural environment, our unique cultural offerings and our manaakitanga. We also wanted to share our unique Māori culture, with a showcase of our Te Matatini winners, Te Whānau ā Apanui.”
The Minister said he looked forward to the remainder of the visit, where he hoped to have the opportunity to learn more about China’s tourism offerings and its people, and to have a deeper understanding of their culture.
“I hope Chinese and New Zealanders alike are excited for the future of our tourism relationship and continuing to build our many exciting cultural, economic and people-to-people connections that will be developed,” he said.