Christchurch Airport announced on 31 August the launch of a South Island Travel Store on Fliggy, a leading Chinese travel service platform and part of the Alibaba digital ecosystem, in a move designed to promote regional tourism and economic development.
Using Fliggy, Chinese travellers can plan and book their travel before they leave home or while they are traveling through the South Island. The platform allows them to obtain information in Chinese about South Island visitor experiences, and promotes bundles of experiences.
Fliggy has access to the more than 600 million monthly active mobile users on Alibaba’s China retail marketplaces.
“Today’s launch puts our South Island attractions up amongst many of the world’s top destinations helping Chinese travellers find us, book where to stay and book the fun they want to have while they’re here,” said Justin Watson, Chief Aeronautical and Commercial Officer at Christchurch Airport.
This launch builds on an existing collaboration which started about 18 months ago between Alibaba, the world’s largest retail commerce company, and Christchurch Airport. About half a billion Chinese consumers purchase products and services through the Alibaba platforms.
“Our presence on Fliggy will allow South Island tourism operators to better target Chinese tourists and provide a better service to them, by giving them more of what they want, based on their use of the Fliggy platform,” Mr Watson says.
The work is being done in association with the South Island’s 13 regional tourism organisations under what is known as the SOUTH programme. The programme is now working with more than 800 businesses, representing more than 4,700 locations around New Zealand.
As part of the collaboration with Alibaba, many South Island tourism operators are already using Alipay, China’s largest mobile and online payment platform operated by Ant Financial, a related company of Alibaba. Alipay allows Chinese visitors to pay for services in the way they are most familiar with and prefer to use at home.
“It’s a significant development for South Island tourism and regional economic development as the market continues to grow,” says Justin Watson.
Christchurch Airport continues to be New Zealand’s fastest growing entry point for Chinese visitors. Over the past financial year, Christchurch showed 25% growth in visitors from China, and overall international arrivals growth more than twice the national growth.