New Zealand says Chinese visitors' return 'a positive step in COVID-19 recovery' as first outbound travel groups ready to depart
Published: Feb 05, 2023 06:58 PM
Photo: from Tourism New Zealand

Photo from Tourism New Zealand

With only less than eight hours to go, the first travel groups in the city of south China's Guangzhou will fly to Dubai from the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. As China revives its outbound travel after a nearly three-year suspension due to COVID-19, the New Zealand tourism authority told the Global Time that Chinese visitors' return is a positive step in New Zealand's COVID-19 recovery.

Apart from the 0:15 am flight to the United Arab Emirates, tour groups to countries including Egypt, Thailand and Singapore are also getting ready to depart from Guangdong on Monday. 

One day before the Spring Festival holidays, the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism said that Chinese travel agencies and online tour operators could restart providing outbound group tours for Chinese citizens to 20 countries from Monday.

The 20 outbound travel destinations involved countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania and South America. In 2019, New Zealand welcomed over 400,000 Chinese tourists, who accounted for approximately one third of all visitors that year, according to Tourism New Zealand, a crown agent of the New Zealand government for marketing the country as a global tourist destination.

"With the changes in travel restrictions and the resumption of group tours to New Zealand, we are very happy to be able to welcome Chinese visitors back to New Zealand as China is one of New Zealand's the most important markets," Gregg Wafelbakker, the General Manager Asia of Tourism New Zealand, told the Global Times. 

"Pre-COVID China was New Zealand's second largest market. Chinese visitors are high-quality visitors, often travelling in off peak seasons and engaging in a range of activities and cultural experiences, and they contributed over 1.7 billion NZ dollars to New Zealand's economy in 2019," said Wafelbakker.

Guangzhou GZL International Travel Corporation (GZL) said it has been preparing for the outbound tour groups during the Spring Festival holidays and many groups heading for the 20 countries have been full, National Business Daily reported.

According to GZL, the company's first tour groups to visa-convenient countries in early February are still available for consumers to join, these are groups heading to places such as the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Thailand, Egypt and Kenya.

On China's travel services platform Mafengwo, Lake Tekapo, Milford Sound, 
Hobbiton Movie Set Tours, Church of the Good Shepherd and Glenorchy are the top five recommended places for Chinese visitors.

According to, a charity that provides figures, charts and maps about New Zealand, going for a walk or hike, going to a beach, doing a scenic boat trip, visiting a national park and seeing native birds in their habitat were among the most common activities undertaken by Chinese visitors in New Zealand in 2019.