On 8 April 2011 one of the world’s biggest airlines, China Southern Airlines, checked in its first passengers for its inaugural flight on the brand-new route from Guangzhou to Auckland. It is expected that this new route will bring 25,000 more visitors from China to New Zealand annually.
China Southern Airlines had previously planned to operate via Melbourne, but then changed to the three-times-weekly direct route into Auckland. Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says: “Visitors arriving on the route will inject an estimated $75 million into New Zealand’s tourism industry in its first year.”
Currently New Zealand attracts 120,000 visitors from China and the Guangzhou-Auckland flights will improve access for travellers from southern China. Kevin Bowler says: “The Guangdong region is a power house of Chinese industry and has the third highest GDP per capita in China. It is a mature market in terms of travel selections and travel style expectations and New Zealand as a holiday destination has a lot to offer these visitors.”