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China Southern Airlines senior executives have chosen New Zealand as the location to host 250 top travel agents from China for its annual agent incentive event in December – travelling on the airline’s brand new A380 aircraft.
"The visit from such a large group of travel opinion leaders will provide huge potential for future promotion of New Zealand in this key outbound travel market," says Glenn Wedlock, General Manager Aeronautical Commercial for Auckland Airport.
"These are the top China Southern travel partners, and this visit is very much in line with our focus on our Ambition 2020 goals to develop more New Zealand experiences and build higher quality offerings for Chinese visitors. This is an incredible opportunity for the individual operators and destinations that are part of their tour, as well as for the New Zealand tourism industry as a whole.”
"It’s very pleasing for Auckland Airport to have played a key role in securing this incentive for Auckland and New Zealand, and to be chosen as a partner in this initiative. For New Zealand, it is a fantastic honour to be the chosen country for this incentive visit and senior delegation. This reiterates the commitment China Southern has for the New Zealand market and the airline's focus on its Canton (Auckland – Guangzhou – Europe) services.”
The 250 delegates will be in New Zealand for five days, visiting various tourist destinations around Auckland, including new experiences on Waiheke Island, the Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Hobbiton in Matamata and Waitomo Caves. China Southern is also holding a gala dinner at the Viaduct Events Centre for the agents, which will be attended by New Zealand tourism industry and business leaders. Other events for the delegation will include dialogue between the New Zealand tourism and trade industries to further deepen New Zealand and China relationships and opportunities.
"China Southern Airlines is committed to developing our service with New Zealand and as a way of demonstrating this, and rewarding our most successful travel agents, we chose this country for our annual familiarisation programme. This trip will allow the travel agents to experience what New Zealand has to offer their customers first-hand, and in doing so increase the opportunity for third-party endorse to future travellers," says Mr Henry Dai, China Southern Airlines’ New Zealand General Manager.
"We are very happy to have a strong strategic partnership with Auckland Airport, as this will enable us to succeed in this market."
China Southern Airlines flies daily between Auckland and Guangzhou (formerly Canton), China's third largest city and the capital of the Guangdong province, a major importing and exporting hub in China and the tourism gateway to the rest of southern China.
China Southern Airlines is the world's third largest airline as measured by passengers carried and Asia's largest airline in both fleet size and passengers carried. The airline flies to 121 destinations, flying A330-200 aircraft between Auckland and Guangzhou, which have the capability to transport perishable and other high value goods. China Southern is flying its new A380 to New Zealand for two round trips during the delegation visit. The A380 is a double deck aircraft and is the world’s largest commercial aircraft flying, with capacity to carry 525 passengers in a comfortable three-class configuration.
Currently the airline still has 136 aircraft on order, including 10 most recent models of B787-800 and one aircraft jumbo A380-800 (four have been delivered earlier this year), which creates big potential for future growth.