Recent research shows Chinese international students have significant influence for the tourism industry.
China is New Zealand's fastest growing international visitor market. And international students from China combine tourism with their educational experience. Unlike many Chinese visitors, these students are not travelling in tours. New research from tourism lecturer Dr Sharleen Howison in collaboration with Sandy Zhou sheds light on what they do.
The Chinese students surveyed like to travel with groups of friends, especially during the summer holidays, and they also visit tourist attractions in the city where they study. They are more likely to use a privately own vehicle than a rental car. They enjoy a range of activities but prefer looking, rather than participating, with nature-based activities. Although they speak English well enough to study here, they commented that guidelines and information in the Chinese language would be helpful.
Significantly, all of those surveyed said they would recommend New Zealand to their families and friends. Indeed, some may already have done so, for about half of the students said their families had already visited New Zealand, and half of those families had visited more than once. This means that Chinese international students are an important influence on other tourists travelling to New Zealand. For the New Zealand tourism industry it is therefore valuable to cater to these independent travelling Chinese students.