Mandarin a must for tourism operators
Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says the local tourism industry would benefit from providing more information in Mandarin.
Tourism operators in Hanmer Springs have received attention for their work in producing information sheets, signage and a website in Mandarin to attract more Asian tourists and better cater for their needs.
Mrs Dean, who is also Parliamentary Private Secretary for Tourism says efforts like that can make a big difference.
"I know from my dealings with Chinese officials that communicating with tourists in their own language is a gesture that is greatly appreciated.
"With more than 30 percent of Chinese visitors now opting to travel independently, the language barrier is an obvious stumbling block in their dealings with New Zealanders.
"Cultural differences can lead to confusion and misunderstandings which can be prevented. For businesses that rely and indeed thrive on the income generated from Chinese tourists, it makes sense to invest some time and money in Mandarin language materials.
"Not only does this make the experience more enjoyable for tourists but it makes life easier for the business operator or accommodation provider that is trying to communicate with visitors on a daily basis.
"Large operators such as Earth & Sky already place high importance on being able to communicate with Mandarin speakers. I would encourage others in the industry to utilise resources already available such as Tourism New Zealand's 'China Toolkit' which provides a good starting point in understanding the market.
"We know that average expenditure per Chinese visitor jumped 30 percent last year so there is a real incentive for members of our local tourism industry to go the extra mile."