Chinese mega-star picks Aotearoa

Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand have announced what they call a continuation of their “phenomenal run in attracting China’s biggest celebrity names to showcase the country despite increasing competition from other destinations”.Actor, director, singer, screenwriter and university teacher Huang Lei, last seen in New Zealand on season two of reality show ‘Dad, where are we going?’ has returned with this wife and daughters for a family holiday celebrating the couple’s 20 years together. The family is working alongside the tourism body and airline to showcase New Zealand as a holiday destination. The family of four is coming to the end of an eight-day trip touring the top of the south island, supported by Destination Marlborough, Destination Kaikoura and Christchurch Canterbury Tourism. Since landing in New Zealand, Huang Lei has made two posts to his Weibo social media account, China’s equivalent of Facebook. The posts have achieved over 90,000 likes and the newly created hashtag “20 years of in love” has had more than 1.6 million views.
News of the visit has generated more than 530 media articles with an equivalent advertising value of more than $2.7 million.
Tourism New Zealand’s Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says, “We first worked with Huang Lei and his daughter Duoduo last year when they travelled here with China’s number one show ‘Dad, where are we going?’.
“The filming of two episodes in New Zealand was an outstanding success for us. Some 400 million Chinese watched the series and we did not expect to get a second chance with a star with this sort of reach in China.
“But the way we worked with the group while they were here last year, the experiences they enjoyed here and the enduring relationships we built are undoubtedly why the family has chosen to return.”
Huang Lei first visited New Zealand on Air New Zealand’s inaugural flight from China more than eight years ago and the airline was delighted to fly Huang Lei and his family back to New Zealand on-board its new Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft from Shanghai to Auckland.
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Christopher Luxon says, “This collaboration with Huang Lei and our ongoing partnership with Tourism New Zealand in recent high impact media projects have brought tremendous value to New Zealand and Air New Zealand.”
The China market continues to be a standout success for the tourism industry with visitor arrivals up 26 percent for the year ending April 2015.
Holiday arrivals are also up 27 percent and average expenditure is up 34 percent for the year ending March 2015.

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