Chinese giant Alibaba lists South Island destination on its travel service

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has listed destinations from all over the South Island on its travel advisory service, Fliggy, giving as many as 600 million potential Chinese tourists the opportunity to book a New Zealand getaway.

Stretching over 10 kilometres of the Southern Alps, the Franz Josef glacier is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the South Island. Tourists fly in to walk among the crevasses and into the famous blue caves below, which form as fast as five metres a day.

"No one really expects or understands what it's like to be up here until you're up here - shock is the most common thing," says Franz Josef glacier guide Andrew Malcolm.

Now that beauty is about to be blasted to mainland China.

Chinese company Alibaba, the biggest e-commerce company in the world with a customer base 120 times bigger than the population of New Zealand, has started listing the South Island on its travel app, Fliggy.

Representatives are jetting in from China for the official launch in Franz Josef, in a campaign run in partnership with Christchurch Airport.

Westland Mayor Bruce Smith says the plan is a boost to businesses all over the region.

"It's outgrowing every other market. Tourism is worth $314 million of the GDP to Westland every year," says Mr Smith.

Tourism also employs six out of every 10 people working in the area.

The hope is Fliggy will encourage travellers to visit in the slower winter months.


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