Sustainable Tourism in New Zealand: the Chinese Visitors' View
This thesis addresses sustainable tourism in New Zealand, in the context of the Chinese inbound visitor market to New Zealand. The purpose of this research is to achieve a better understanding of environmental sustainability in New Zealand's tourism industry, how this impacts on New Zealand's marketing image, and the way the New Zealand tourism industry caters to the Chinese inbound visitor market. To achieve the research aims this study focuses on the following themes: visitor characteristics, trip characteristics, satisfaction, factors that impact on the visitors' decision to visit a destination, sustainable tourism in New Zealand, and New Zealand's marketing image. Using a triangulation research approach the visitors' perspective was obtained through the use of a visitor survey, whereas the suppliers' perspective was gathered via face-to-face interviews. The analytical framework adopted for this study further assisted in the comparison of the two travel structures: tour group and independent travellers, but also the evaluation of the visitors' and suppliers' perspectives. However, one of the key challenges with regards to the size of the visitor sample population during the time of this study was the impact of global issues such as the Sichuan Earthquake, Beijing Olympics, and the global financial crisis; which in essence affected the overall Chinese inbound visitor arrivals to New Zealand. From the combination of both the quantitative and qualitative data this study indicated that the Chinese visitor market is not as homogeneous as first established by other studies. This research also identified that a number of factors do impact on their decisions to visit a destination, such as safety and security, as well as the destination having a high level of environmental protection. A large proportion of Chinese visitors also perceived New Zealand to be more than just a reasonably sustainable tourism destination. This indicates that New Zealand's 'clean, green' reputation does potentially act as a key pull factor in the Chinese visitors' holidaymaking decisions. However, tour operators believe New Zealand has potential to become a sustainable tourism destination; however, more work is needed to retain the tourism industry's environmental 'sustainability'. Overall, it was established from the findings that there is a need for alternative tourism products as a means to retain the interest of Chinese visitors to New Zealand. It is indicated that current Chinese visitor package tours need to shift focus from being commission-based shopping endeavours to tours that entail aspects that feature the essence of New Zealand and the country's environmental sustainable position. In addition, it is also demonstrated that New Zealand's '100% PURE' tourism campaign is very standardized, and therefore makes it difficult to attract all of New Zealand's key visitor markets. Hence, to effectively attract the Chinese visitor market, New Zealand should adopt a specific promotional venture that takes advantage of the Chinese visitors concern for status, and their developing use of various information sources, such as the Internet, to push a marketing tagline that appeals explicitly to the Chinese visitor market.