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Law change drives boom in Chinese visitors to New Zealand
2013-11-08 16:10:53

WELLINGTON, -- A 50-percent increase in travelers from China last month resulted in the second highest number of...

WELLINGTON, -- A 50-percent increase in travelers from China last month resulted in the second highest number of visitors to New Zealand for a September month after only 2011 when the country hosted the Rugby World Cup, the government statistics agency announced Monday.

The number of visitors in September reached 191,100, a rise of 7 percent year on year, according to Statistics New Zealand.

"The 21,200 visitors from China was well up from 14,000 last September," population statistics manager Andrea Blackburn said in a statement.

"This continues the strong growth in visitor numbers which we have seen from the world's most populous country in recent years."

Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler said the strong growth in China arrivals last month occurred as travelers sought to take their holidays ahead of the new travel law which came into effect on Oct. 1.

The law effectively required travel sellers in China to offer better quality, and thus more expensive, group tour packages both domestically and internationally, Bowler said in a statement.

"For the first two weeks of October, unofficial figures indicate a dramatic change in the Chinese visitor mix, with the anticipated decrease in short stay group visits and a rapid rise in the number of Chinese visitors traveling independently to New Zealand," he said.

"We expect total visitor numbers from China to be softer in October, but that this decline will be temporary as the market mix shifts to a better quality experiences for visitors."

In the year to the end of September, total visitor arrivals rose 3 percent to reach 2.67 million, with the number from China up 49,600 or 78.4 percent, Australia up 23,300 (4.3 percent), and the United States up 11,400 (10.6 percent).

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