New Zealand leverages ‘China’s Instagram’ to boost tourism

New Zealand is leveraging digital platforms’ power to draw Chinese travellers as part of the country’s post-Covid tourism recovery, with Tourism New Zealand and Xiaohongshu, a powerful Chinese social media platform, having recently announced their strategic relationship in Shanghai.

To better inform their purchasing decisions, Chinese customers are increasingly turning to reputable social media platforms to provide recommendations and reviews. Xiaohongshu has emerged as the top option for Chinese tourists seeking peer-to-peer, professional, and influential travel advice. The platform lets travellers share their unique experiences, recommend destinations, and trade travel stories.

With the help of the partnership, Tourism New Zealand will be able to better market New Zealand’s many attractions, including its natural splendour and cultural diversity, to people in China who could one day visit the country. The objective is to connect with the enormous user base of Xiaohongshu and draw more tourists, boosting New Zealand’s economic recovery and growth.

Peeni Henare, NZ’s minister of tourism, stressed: “Global competition for visitors is fierce; this partnership with what is referred to as ‘China’s Instagram’ will help reach Xiaohongshu’s 260 million monthly active users and attract more tourists, helping to drive our economic growth and recovery.

“We want Chinese consumers to know New Zealand is open for business, and this partnership will help showcase our special offerings for travellers to share their experiences with each other.”

With almost 600,000 visitors expected this winter, the tourism industry is expanding. New Zealand is prepared to welcome Chinese tourists, the nation’s second-largest visitor market before the pandemic, thanks to the government’s investment in regional infrastructure while the borders were closed.

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins used the social media platform on his recent visit to China to make a personal plea to Chinese tourists to visit his country. Hipkins wrote in Chinese and English, under the Chinese title, “New Zealand Prime Minister meets Xiaohongshu, inviting everyone to visit New Zealand.”

“Whether you love nature, are adventurous at heart, enjoy exploring culinary delights, or are curious about unique cultures, we welcome you to explore Aotearoa, New Zealand!”, Hipkins wrote in the post, which included several pictures from an event marking cooperation between Tourism New Zealand and Xiaohongshu.

Almost five million people saw more than 150 social media posts about China’s first international media tour’s March visit to New Zealand.

“Tourism New Zealand hosts a range of international media in New Zealand to experience all we have to offer for themselves and share it with their readers and viewers. Increasingly, recommendations of this kind are important drivers to influence others to travel,” Peeni Henare said.

Foreign visitor spending increased to $3.2 billion in the first three months of 2023 from $1.8 billion in December, making it the second-highest export this quarter behind dairy goods.

The alliance with Xiaohongshu helps Tourism New Zealand’s effort to draw tourists who enhance the community, culture, ecology, and economy of Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Along with the cooperation with Xiaohongshu, Christchurch, New Zealand, will be served again by direct flights from Guangzhou in the Guangdong Province of South China. This action will increase travel and fortify ties between the two countries.

New Zealand’s strategic alliance with Xiaohongshu is a key move towards utilising digital platforms to foster tourism and economic recovery. The partnership is evidence of digital platforms’ influence over travel trends and patterns in international travel.