NZ to ensure smooth travel for Chinese visitors

Updated: 2013-07-31 13:22


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WELLINGTON - New Zealand Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said Wednesday he is assessing visa and travel procedures for Chinese visitors during a visit to China.

Woodhouse said in a statement from his office that he would hold talks with senior Chinese ministers and officials as well as business leaders during his ongoing four-day visit to China.

His trip coincided with the release of figures showing that more than 220,000 Chinese visitors came to New Zealand in the six months to the end of June, more than any country apart from Australia.

"China is a country that continues to grow in terms of its importance to New Zealand's tourism and international education sectors," the minister said.

"Inbound tourism is one of our most important industries and is worth around NZ$9 billion ($7.18 billion) a year. Increasing the number of visitors and migrants from new markets such as China is a key priority to growing the economy."

Much of the growth in Chinese visitor numbers could be attributed to the China Southern Airlines commencing daily direct flights to New Zealand in April 2011.

"It also shows that the work being done across government to grow the Chinese visitor market -- such as Immigration New Zealand 's visa facilitation scheme with China Southern Airlines -- is really paying off," he said.

During his China trip, Woodhouse will also visit one of China's top education consultancy businesses, according to the statement.