Chinese billionaire proposes New Zealand theme park

Tourism (iStock)
Tourism (iStock)

The Chinese owner of Club Med hotels is among a group of group of billionaires invited here this week to scope out investment opportunities - and one already has his heart set on building a theme park here.

"We will be looking to build a theme park style complex including accommodation, shows and recreation facilities," says Hangzhou Songcheng group owner Hongming Huang.

"We are interested in both Auckland and Queenstown as venues."

It wouldn't be the first theme park he owns - he already has one in the city of Hangzhou, which gets more visits than Disneyland Shanghai.

With 60 million visitors, it's one of top three shows in the world alongside one in Las Vegas and the Moulin Rouge.

Mr Huang was one of many businessmen presented with New Zealand's tourism stats at a conference in Auckland.

In 2015 there were 327,904 visitors. In the past year that's risen to more than 405,000 - a 26.5 percent increase.

However, while there are more and more Chinese travelling, a decreasing percentage of them are coming here.

Chinese tourists are looking more for luxury than the package deals they had been interested in previously. Thailand, South Korea and Japan are now their preferred destinations - and we don't even make the top 15.

The Tourism Industry Association says the solution is getting foreigners to build more hotels here - specifically a project led by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to build 26 new hotels.

"We simply don't have the wealthy individuals and the wealthy corporates in this country that can invest in the infrastructure we need across all sectors - tourism is no different so we need help from overseas," says Tourism Industry Aotearoa's Chris Roberts.

And if we don't cater to them - they'll go elsewhere.