A new joint Immigration New Zealand and Tourism New Zealand office is opening in Shanghai in what is described as an important development in facilitating Chinese visitors to New Zealand.
According to Immigration Minister and Associate Tourism Minister Jonathan Coleman it signals the Government’s response to meeting demand from one of New Zealand’s fastest growing tourist markets which is worth around $365 million a year.
‘We are seeing more tourists and business visitors from China. Chinese tourism in New Zealand is booming with 131,000 visitors in the year to June 2011, an increase of 25%. Business visitors have also increased by 10% over the past year,’ said Coleman.
It is hoped it will also encourage more students from China to stud in New Zealand. Chinese students account for a quarter of the 90,000 international students who study in New Zealand each year.
‘It’s important that Immigration New Zealand is able to keep up with demand for visa services. INZ has also taken steps to remove as much bureaucracy as it can from visa processing in China. The Shanghai office reflects our increasing commitment to meet growth in the China market,’ Coleman explained.
INZ is now issuing multiple entry visas for Chinese citizens as standard practice. Previously such visas were the exception rather than the rule. This allows holders to enter New Zealand as many times as they like for a maximum stay of six months in total.
‘This will remove a real source of frustration for Chinese who wish to visit New Zealand regularly at short notice,’ Coleman added.
The visa application form itself has been reduced in length and is more user friendly with both Chinese and English language used.
INZ is also establishing visa application centers in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. This will also make the application process easier and quicker.
‘What this also highlights is the important link between immigration and tourism and how better collaboration between both sectors can help boost New Zealand’s tourism industry,’ Coleman said.