Two hundred and fifty of China’s leading tourism workers are in Auckland as New Zealand bids to increase the number of Chinese tourists coming here.
The group arrived to a traditional Maori welcome.
The visit follows provisions made by the Government to fast track the immigration queue for China Southern Airlines frequent fliers.
Prime Minister John Key says in the foreseeable future we will see four or five hundred thousand Chinese people coming to New Zealand.
“So they’re a fertile market for people to come. They’re interested in coming to New Zealand and they’re one stop, so one flight makes it attractive,” Key said.
The Chinese are the second biggest spenders in New Zealand’s tourism market.
Meanwhile, an agreement, which will increase education co-operation between New Zealand and China, has been signed in Wellington.
Education Minister Hekia Parata says the agreement will enhance business opportunities for New Zealand’s university, polytechnic and skills sectors.
China is the largest source of international students in New Zealand and likely to remain so, Parata said.
State Councillor Liu Yandong is in New Zealand until tomorrow, ahead of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and China on December 22.
Liu is a senior leader in China’s 2012 – 2017 hierarchy. Her portfolios include education, science, screen and television and culture.
“State Councillor Liu Yandong’s visit will help support New Zealand’s crucial education industry links with China. It also furthers our interest in greater collaboration in education services,” Parata said.
“The agreement provides a foundation for officials’ work in this important economic, social and political area of the relationship.”
Science and technology
A New Zealand-China joint declaration, which will boost science and technology links and co-operation between the two countries, was signed in Wellington today.
The joint declaration, focussing on enhancing and supporting science and technology research co-operation, was signed by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Chinese Deputy-Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang.
The signing was witnessed by visiting State Councillor Liu.
“New Zealand and China have strong links in science and technology and this declaration help to grow this relationship,” Joyce said.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment of New Zealand and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology have also agreed to increase funding over the next five years to enhance and support bilateral science and technology co-operation, totalling $10 million.
“China is our second largest trading partner and the bilateral trade and economic relationship we share is very important. Trade between our countries has increased by 50 per cent since the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2008 – we want this growth to continue,” Joyce said.