Christchurch bucks national trend with 8.5% arrivals growth, aided by Chinese FITs

    Christchurch International Airport recorded (19-Jul-2019) visitor arrivals growth of 8.5% for the period Jul-2018 to May-2019, compared to a national decline in arrivals of 5.8% for the same period. The airport’s Chinese arrivals increased by 26.6% in May-2019, driven by the Labour Day holiday in China and more direct airline capacity, compared to a national decrease of 9%. Christchurch Airport chief aeronautical and commercial officer Justin Watson attributed the trend to the appeal of New Zealand‘s South Island amongst high value Chinese free and independent (FIT) travellers, commenting: “These travellers are highly beneficial for the South Island, because they travel more widely to the regions, do more while they’re here, tend to be younger (25-35), and become great ambassadors for the South Island”. China Southern Airlines also increased seat numbers to Christchurch by 50% in the past two financial years.