Auckland Airport hosts China-ready workshops

By Charlotte Turner |

As part of Auckland Airport’s broader Ambition 2020 programme – to grow New Zealand’s share from high growth markets – it is hosting a week of workshops designed to help staff deliver better airport experiences for Chinese tourists – currently the fastest growing tourism market for New Zealand.


Glenn Wedlock, Auckland Airport’s General Manager Aeronautical Commercial, says the workshops are another initiative from the airport to foster and build enduring relationships with China.


“China is one of the world’s leading economies and a huge growth opportunity for New Zealand. We have experienced impressive growth in Chinese arrivals during the Chinese New Year period with 30% year on year growth in the combined two month January and February period,” says Wedlock.


“New Zealand is fast becoming a very popular Chinese holiday destination and it is important that we prepare as an industry to cater for demand and maximise the benefits this market can bring to New Zealand. Chinese visitors spent $673 million in the year to March 2013, a massive increase of 42% on the previous 12 months,” continues Wedlock.



“These workshops will provide staff across the board at Auckland Airport with increased knowledge of how best to interact with our Chinese visitors, ensuring that we in turn provide the best possible travelling experience for them.”


The workshops, which begin today and run for the rest of the week, will see employees from Auckland Airport’s Aeronautical Operations and Retail and Commercial teams, as well as staff from Customs, Ministry of Primary Industries and the Police, receive intensive training in Chinese behaviour and communication styles from TravConsult, specialists in international customer service and tourism development.


Trevor Lee, Managing Director of TravConsult, says he is impressed with how the airport has approached these China-ready workshops as it is the first time he has seen this many different stakeholders involved in the training.


“The airport has identified key touch points when the Chinese tourists are travelling through the airport and has ensured that staff from all of these areas are involved in the workshops,” says Lee.


[Above: Auckland Airport still maintains a strong New Zealand identity whilst catering to Asian consumers]



Lee was invited to make a presentation at the recent TFWA Asia Pacific Conference, where he illustrated the importance of the Chinese traveller and how they can be best accommodated during the passenger journey.


“These workshops will make the interactions at these touch points more seamless and more enjoyable for the Chinese traveller and they highlight the airports dedication to catering for the Chinese tourism market,” added Lee. “This is a win-win for everyone involved.”


The workshops will see participants learn about the behaviour and communication styles of Chinese people, covering different generations and different traveller markets.


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