New Zealand is making it easier for Chinese tourists to visit by extending the length of visitor visas, Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key announced in China today.
“The length of the multiple-entry visitor visas routinely granted to independent Chinese travellers will be extended from 12 months to 24 months from 1 May this year,” says Mr Key. Independent travellers are those not visiting on organised tours.
He made the announcement today in Shanghai, which is one of New Zealand’s biggest Chinese markets for tourists, during an official visit to China.
“The extended visa makes it easier for Chinese visitors to come to New Zealand because if they return within two years they don’t have to repeat the visa application process.”
A new bi-lingual China section on the Immigration New Zealand website is also making it easier for Chinese visitors to lodge a visa application.
“Advice is provided in English and Chinese and information previously spread across three parts of the Immigration NZ website has been brought together into one location. There is also a link to useful information for travellers on the Tourism New Zealand website,” says Mr Key.
The initiatives are the result of a high-level review of the China tourism market by a panel of New Zealand government and industry experts. The panel’s report, the China Market Review, was also released today.
The report contains a number of recommendations on how New Zealand can attract Chinese visitors and deliver quality tourism experiences.
These recommendations range from providing better market intelligence for tourism operators, to higher quality tours provided through Tourism New Zealand’s Premier Kiwi Partnership programme, and making the most of Chinese visitors’ interest in learning about Maori culture.
“China is our most rapidly growing tourism market and we need to ensure we’re offering Chinese visitors the highest-quality experiences and meeting their expectations,” says Mr Key.
Over the past year, more than 200,000 Chinese visitors came to New Zealand, up about 38 per cent on the previous year, and they spent around $651 million in New Zealand. China is the second largest source of overseas visitors to New Zealand.