New Zealand’s tourist numbers have hit a record high, with Chinese tourists leaving the country to travel overseas.
Photo: SuppliedThe total number of visitors to the country hit a new record high in January with more than 3 million people visiting the country last year, according to the latest tourism data.
The number of overseas visitors to New Zealand hit a total of 4.1 million last year.
New Zealanders who visited China in the first half of the year also made up a record 11.2 percent of visitors last year compared with 10.6 percent in the previous year.
Photo:”Visitor numbers are up and we are seeing more visitors from China and South Korea,” New Zealand Tourism Minister Matt Prior told the Herald.
The New Zealand government expects to see an additional 400,000 visitors to China in 2017, up from the same period last year when it forecast the number of Chinese visitors would be up by 200,000.
The growth of Chinese tourists to New Zeland was fuelled by China’s crackdown on counterfeit currency, with New Zealand Customs issuing a record number of counterfeit currency seizures.
China has now issued more than 5.2 million counterfeit currency notes in 2017.
Tourists are fleeing the country over rising prices and the threat of being forced to return.
The National Government has announced a crackdown on Chinese tourists after the Government said it had received more than 60 complaints of fraudulent tourism activity by Chinese nationals.
“Our country has seen unprecedented levels of Chinese tourism activity over the last year,” the Government’s chief travel officer, Scott Thomson, told the Parliament on Monday.
The crackdown is also causing significant concern for the tourism industry, as China has long been considered a major source of tourists to the UK.
“In recent years, we have seen a significant increase in China as well as the US and Canada, which have been the main destinations for Chinese tourists,” Mr Thomson said.
New Zeland, which sits at the southern tip of the Pacific, is home to some of the world’s most important coral reefs.
Photo”We have been seeing increased demand from China, which is very important to us,” Mr Thompson said.
Tourism Minister Matt Prendergast said New Zealand was seeing “more Chinese visitors” and had been working hard to boost the number and quality of visitor numbers.
“It is important to keep in mind that there is no guarantee that this growth will continue in the future, and it is important that New Zealand does everything it can to ensure that the growth in tourism stays on track,” he said.
Auckland Mayor Lianne Dalziel says the Government has been doing everything it could to promote tourism in New Zealand.
PhotoThe number one priority for the Government was to support tourism in the short term and to ensure it continued to grow, Ms Dalziol said.
“There’s a very high bar that needs to be set for tourism growth in New Zealand, and that’s making sure that we have a strong tourism sector that can sustainably provide opportunities to the local communities,” she said.
The Government is also trying to encourage Chinese tourists and those who come to New Britain to buy property in New York and New York State, which are two of the best places to grow and prosper.
Newzealand’s tourism industry has been in free fall since a recent surge in the number Chinese visitors, prompting the Government to introduce new measures.
“We are very keen to see that we continue to encourage this growth and that New Zlanders can enjoy the opportunities that come with it,” Ms Dalaziel said.