Amway boost for Queenstown's tourist economy

John Key speaks in China (Lloyd Burr/Newshub.)
John Key speaks in China (Lloyd Burr/Newshub.)

Ten thousand of China's best Amway salespeople will be rewarded with trips to Queenstown, injecting an estimated $50 million into the region's economy.

Prime Minister John Key announced the deal yesterday, struck at the end of his week-long trip aimed at boosting trade between New Zealand and China.

"This is by far the biggest incentive business New Zealand has ever won, and it sends a strong message that New Zealand is a serious contender in the global incentive market," said Mr Key.

Tourism NZ chief executive Kevin Bowler says the best part about the deal is that the trips will take place in the off-season.

"Our country, our hotels are very, very full over the summer period, so getting 10,000 additional visitors it has to come in our off-peak period," he said on Paul Henry this morning.

The Amway staff will arrive in groups of 500 during autumn 2018, staying for five days.

The $50 million boost to the economy is a minimum; whatever visitors choose to spend themselves is a bonus.

Mr Bowler says the growing number of visitors from China is being matched by interest from other big markets, such as the United States and India.

"We've got American Airlines starting to fly, we've got United flying, we've got Air New Zealand expanding their reach into the US by flying to Texas. I think we'll be sitting here in a year saying the US is up 20 percent," he says.

"Indian travellers love to come to New Zealand in November and December, then they like to come back in April and May -- it's a perfect market for New Zealand."

With Auckland and Queenstown hotel space tight in the peak seasons, Mr Bowler says central and local government should look at expanding facilities elsewhere, to build capacity and discourage freedom camping.