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New Zealand's new visa policy aims to attract more Chinese tourists


03-30-2017 08:52 BJT

Full coverage: Premier Li Visits Australia, New Zealand

(Source: CGTN)

Premier Li Keqiang has just wrapped up his visit to New Zealand. The country is likely to see a booming tourism industry in the future thanks to a multi-entry visa extension policy for Chinese tourists. How are Chinese travel agencies viewing this development?

During Premier Li Keqiang’s recent visit, New Zealand announced it will issue five-year multi-entry visas to eligible Chinese applicants from May 8th. It’s good news for Chinese travel agencies.

"In the future, personal trips to New Zealand will be the norm for Chinese tourists. And this new visa policy will make it more convenient for individual visitors to go to New Zealand. We’re looking forward to it," Chen Yanqin, general asst. manager of New Zealand Travel in Guangdong Nanhu Int'l Travel Service, said.

A record 422,000 Chinese tourists traveled to New Zealand in the past year, contributing almost one and a half billion US dollars to the local economy.

"Based on our statistics, the numbers of Chinese tourists visiting New Zealand saw a great leap in 2015. And by March this year, numbers have already surpassed the total for last year," Chen said.

New Zealand is not only a hot-spot for Chinese tourists but also becoming a favorite destination for Chinese students who want to study overseas. ”

For four years in a row, China has been New Zealand's largest source of foreign students, accounting for 27 percent of the total.

Experts say China has become the most important market for the country's education sector.

"The New Zealand government now organizes many education promotion activities every year in all the major cities of China in a bid to attract more Chinese students, ranging from school pupils to college students, to study in the country," Xian Weixuan, director of NZ Center of Education int'l Cooperation Group, said.

One main reason Chinese students choose New Zealand is the relatively low expense.

"Studying in New Zealand is perhaps the cheapest option among all the English-speaking countries. It only requires 21-to-29 thousand US dollars per year," Xian said.

Xian said she saw a 10 percent annual growth in Chinese students studying in New Zealand over the past few years and she expects the increase to continue to accelerate.

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