The inaugural charter flight by China Southern Airlines into Christchurch Airport is a timely boost to South Island tourism and its value to the wider economy, the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) says.
Growing sustainable air connectivity is a foundation theme of the Tourism 2025* growth framework, which aims to help the $23.9 billion tourism industry achieve strong, durable long-term economic growth.
The Christchurch rebuild has also been identified as key to tourism’s efforts to grow its value, as is growing the Chinese market.
China has quickly grown to be New Zealand’s second biggest source of international visitors (after Australia). All the indications are that the number of visitors coming from China will continue to grow, especially if it becomes easier for Chinese travellers to reach New Zealand.
“Our industry’s ability to successfully exploit these valuable opportunities can only be strengthened by today’s inaugural flight, which is also the first commercial flight of a B787 Dreamliner to Christchurch,” says TIA Chief Executive Martin Snedden.
Christchurch Airport has supported the development of Tourism 2025 and this new air service is fully aligned with the growth framework’s goals, Mr Snedden says.
*TIA is working with both the private sector and public sector to develop Tourism 2025, an aspirational plan that aims to unite and inspire the industry to adapt and succeed. It has a firm focus on growth – yield, profitability and return on investment ¬– and improved sector productivity, all underpinning a quality visitor experience.