During August a number of Linked In messages popped up congratulating me on my ‘work anniversary’.
Amazingly it had been sixteen years since I established my company, however I'd been so busy it had slipped my mind!
It was the beginning of what turned out to be a fantastic journey in the world of tourism marketing contacting and consulting working with some great tourism businesses.
So it got me thinking about some of changes I’d observed over those years. Here is the first of the top five observations that came to mind.
1) The Rise of the Chinese Inbound Market
The Chinese market has come from practically a zero base to being New Zealand’s second largest source of visitors – and there is no sign of this slowing. For the year ended June 2000 only 28 705 Chinese visited New Zealand. As at year ended July 2016 that figure was 403 152 – quite an increase!
I was fortunate to be on one of the then New Zealand Tourism Board’s earliest missions into China, in the early 1990’s led by then Regional Manager, Fergus Brown. Travel from China was truly in its infancy and often under the guise of ‘business’ travel. How things have changed today. The significant growth of numbers, along with the rapid sophistication and emergence of consumer segments continues to amaze me. They are also lucrative spenders, making their economic contribution to New Zealand significant.
Through the 1990’s Korea was the darling of the inbound market, particularly for with tourism businesses in the upper North Island. At that time the Korean market was 58 649 (annual to year ended June 2000), more than double the Chinese numbers at that time. Sadly the drivers for the Korean market haven’t been the same and to the year ended June 2016 Korea numbers were 75,088 - definitely not the kind of growth that China has had!