© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2019

New Horizons fund aims to boost Chinese tourism in South Island.

Nikki Carroll

Christchurch International Airport has chosen three Canterbury businesses to help get more tourists from China to the region over Winter.

Experience Mid-Canterbury, Mt Hutt and the Alpine Pacific Touring Route will each receive $16,000 from the airport's New Horizons Fund.

The money will go toward mentoring with a Christchurch airport team member, travel to China, meeting Chinese travel brokers, and marketing collateral aimed at Chinese tourists.

The fund is an economic development programme aimed to help South Island tourism operators increase the number of Chinese visitors to the region.

Mt Hutt operations manager 
James Urquhart said he would travel to China next month with Mandarin-speaking staff from Christchurch Airport to attend tourism markets and meet travel brokers.

He said having people with you who already had connections with the Chinese market made the trip hugely beneficial.

Experience Mid-Canterbury General Manager Bruce Moffat said he would go to China in September to attend three tourism markets with Christchurch Airport representatives.

He already goes to China twice a year to build Experience Mid-Canterbury's profile, but found success was sporadic when you had to deliver the product by yourself.

Both Moffat and Urquhart believed that with the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing the timing was right to market Canterbury as a Winter destination.

Christchurch Airport's Chief Aeronautical and Commercial Officer, Justin Watson, said New Horizons helped tourism businesses "focus both on attracting high-value Chinese visitors to the South Island and improving the experience they have when they visit". 

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