New Zealand has announced a range of initiatives to make it easier for Chinese tourists to get visitor visa to New Zealand, and explore the beautiful landscape.
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and Air New Zealand have reached an agreement to make it easier for high-value Chinese tourists to visit New Zealand.
Now, the holders of the airline’s Gold Elite, Gold and Silver cards will not have to produce evidence of employment and sufficient funds to support their visitor visa application.
Applicants will still need to meet health and good character requirements, as well as evidence of onward travel.
The head of INZ, Nigel Bickle, says that the agreement will encourage more high-value Chinese tourists to visit New Zealand and stay here for longer.
The agreement with Air New Zealand closely mirrors an arrangement with China Southern Airlines, which came into effect in November last year and has been operating smoothly without any issues, says Nigel
The Inbound tourism industry contributes $9 billion to New Zealand. China has now overtaken the UK as the second largest source of overseas visitors to New Zealand with more than 200,000 arrivals in the year to February 2013.
“Increasing the number of visitors and migrants from new markets such as China is a key priority to growing the economy.”
Air New Zealand’s CEO Christopher Luxon says that INZ has said it will endeavour to process all visitor visa applications under this scheme within five working days.
In another move, New Zealand is also by extending the length of visitor visas for the Chinese, Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key says.
“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 the prime minister. Independent travellers are those not visiting on organised tours.
He made the announcement in Shanghai, which is one of New Zealand’s biggest Chinese markets for tourists.
Similarly, a new bi-lingual China section on the Immigration New Zealand website is launched to make 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 John.
The initiatives are part of recommendations made by a review of the China tourism market by a panel of New Zealand government and industry experts.
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.
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.