Push to attract Asia pays off for Hurunui attraction

IMG 1554Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa is experiencing a surge in visitor numbers from Asia, after a concerted effort to attract tourists from the continent to the village.

The complex drew 12,925 visitors from Asia in January and February 2016 compared to 7,514 visitors from Asia for January and February 2015.

That’s an increase of 72%.

General Manager Graeme Abbot says it’s a huge achievement and has helped the complex set a new record.

“We attracted 100,670 visitors between 26 December 2015 and the 31 January 2016. This is the most visitors we have ever had during that period, which is our busiest time of year,” says Graeme.

“We have worked alongside Christchurch Airport and Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism to attract visitors from Asia, particularly China, to the South Island. It’s awesome to know that is paying off.”

Graeme Abbot says this work has involved his attending Kiwi Link events in China to showcase Hurunui and Hanmer Springs directly to Chinese travel agents. Graeme also attended the Kia Ora South sales presentations that were led by Christchurch Airport.

“We have created a Chinese language website to showcase Hanmer Springs and have a new Chinese-born sales and marketing co-ordinator. This appointment will help further boost our profile offshore, with a focus on Chinese social media and trade channels.”

Megan Li is Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa’s new sales and marketing co-ordinator.

Megan moved to New Zealand two years ago. She completed a Masters degree at the University of Otago in Dunedin before moving to Queenstown where she worked for Q-book and Over The Top, a helicopter company.

“I absolutely love Hanmer Springs and have been at the pools every day – the water feels like heaven and I’m fast believing this is the best place in the world.”

Megan sees huge potential to attract even more Asian visitors, particularly Chinese, to Hanmer Springs.

“Hanmer Springs is very beautiful and very quiet... it offers an authentic kiwi experience. Best of all it has many activities that will appeal to Chinese visitors – including the thermal pools and spa, the forest, jetboating, bungy jumping and Hanmer Springs Animal Park.”

Graeme Abbot is also in no doubt as to the importance and potential of the Chinese market to Hurunui and Hanmer Springs.

“Chinese visitors spend an average of $5,100 when they come to New Zealand. Ensuring our area gets a bigger slice of that will do wonders for our local economy. Best of all, we know that our accommodation, activities and stunning setting means that those who visit will not be disappointed,” concludes Graeme Abbot.