Auckland airport says Chinese visitor spending needs to increase

Auckland International Airport Ltd’s (AIA.NZ) chairwoman, Joan Withers, has said that Chinese visitors to New Zealand should be encouraged to spend more.

Acknowledging that the China tourism market was one of the few growth areas in New Zealand, Withers said that more avenues should be made available that would encourage Chinese tourists to spend more in the nation. She said that spending by Chinese tourists in Australia was higher than that in New Zealand, and therefore visitors need to be encouraged to spend more to bring Chinese tourist spending in the two countries on a par.

Withers said, ‘Global markets are now increasingly Asia-centric and likely to become more so. A global race is now on to capture value from the massive rise in the Asian middle-class that is projected.’

The tourism industry in New Zealand has been facing up to many challenges. It accounts for approximately 3.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, and in recent years, the strong New Zealand dollar and weak economies in the US, the UK and Europe have been acting as deterrents to tourism in the nation. Auckland Airport said that routes between Auckland and China continued to perform strongly, with the number of Chinese visitors passing through the airport increasing by 74.2 percent in September.

Chinese tourists are now the second largest tourist group coming through Auckland International Airport. For the average Chinese traveller, Auckland, the city of Rotorua, known for its natural wonders, and Waitomo, are the three most preferred destinations.

Auckland drenched by rain with more to come

Travellers to Auckland in New Zealand have been advised to prepare for the heavy rains that have been lashing the city.

The weather in Auckland has been unseasonably wet, and even more rain is forecast to be on the way. Canterbury and Otago are however likely to earn a temporary reprieve from the downpour that has been raging over those cities for several days, but they too have been warned to expect a return to the wet weather soon.

Weather watchers have said that there is a possibility of spotting a funnel cloud over Auckland. Funnel clouds have the capacity to become a tornado if they touch the ground, but such an eventuality is not expected in this case. The extremely high levels of rain that the city has been experiencing have fostered apprehensions that there could be serious flooding risk unless the downpours end soon.

An analyst with said, ‘There’s a lot of instability around Auckland today. Huge cloud build ups, big showers and some of the ingredients needed to create funnel clouds.’

It has been reported that the main area of showers is moving over South Auckland now, and conditions could improve soon. Weather analysts expect the rain to remain heavy for a few more days, after which sunny spells are predicted to offer a break in the weather.

North Otago rural residents were asked by authorities not to embark on any non-essential travel after flooding closed 43 roads in the region. The same applies to tourists bound for, or passing through the region. Rivers have swollen, with several of those in the region having reached their peak last night. It was also possible that temperatures could touch 20 degrees in some isolated pockets.


Sofitel announces launch of new hotel in Auckland

The luxury hotel brand, Sofitel, has opened its Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour location in Auckland, New Zealand.

The new hotel is the hotel brand’s first location in Auckland and the second in New Zealand, the first being a hotel in Queenstown. The hotel is located near the city’s waterfront and was formerly an MGallery Lighter Quay hotel. Existing facilities at the location will be upgraded to meet the standards of luxury that the Sofitel brand strives for.

The new hotel has rooms and suites that will have private balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows and queen-sized bathrooms, with separate rain showers and deep bathtubs. The cafe and restaurant at the hotel will overlook the waterfront esplanade. Corporate customers can avail of facilities that include three meeting rooms and a 195sqm function room and a business centre. The whole hotel is Wi-Fi enabled to provide easy access to the Internet.

The hotel also has six treatment rooms as part of its spa services. A range of traditional and modern treatments can be enjoyed by those guests who wish to use their stay at the hotel as an opportunity to wind down. Other features include a sauna and steam room, a gym, a 20-metre indoor lap pool and a spa pool.

The hotel authorities have plans to expand the brand’s presence in the Pacific region and are looking to enlarge the portfolio to include 150 hotels by 2015.