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Celeb pimps New Zealand to Chinese travellers

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development Ltd (ATEED) is trying out a new approach to promoting tourism to the fast-growing market in China, using one of their own – film star Dong Xuan – as a drawcard.

Dong XuanAs part of Auckland Airport’s programme to develop premium travel markets, Dong Xuan will spend 10 days in New Zealand travelling from Auckland to Arrowtown with Chinese media, film and camera teams in tow, visiting iconic locations to be promoted in her home country.

She will experience everything from vineyards on Waiheke Island to sailing on the Waitemata Harbour, Hobbiton Village, shearing and milking in Rotorua, jetboating in Queenstown and glacier cruising on Milford Sound.

Dong is an extensive blogger and social media user with a fan base of more than 3.2 million on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Facebook and will be providing regular updates as part of her travels.

Her trip to New Zealand has already received extensive coverage across China on radio, in newspapers and online.

“This is the first time Auckland Airport and ATEED have teamed up in this way to market Auckland and the depth of product for premium markets in New Zealand. In China celebrities like Miss Dong have significant influence, so the power of her recommendations to visit New Zealand can’t be underestimated,” says Glenn Wedlock, general manager aeronautical commercial for Auckland Airport.

Once her tour is complete, wholesale partners will offer Chinese visitors the chance to follow in her footsteps on a “Dong Xuan experience tour” marketed via media and traditional advertising in China, as well as through social media.

ATEED manager tourism Jason Hill says the campaign is a creative way to leverage Chinese celebrity culture.

“Smart marketing is critical to help change perceptions and stimulate visitation from the important Chinese visitor market. Having someone as high profile as Dong Xuan visit Auckland and other parts of the country is a great example of this," he says.

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