WELLINGTON, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- China's Lunar New Year holiday this year contributed 117 million NZ dollars (98.14 million U.S. dollars) to the New Zealand economy, according to figures from the country's main international port of entry Friday.
"This Chinese New Year saw 34,500 Chinese passengers arrive in New Zealand over the few weeks that make up this important holiday season," Auckland Airport general manager aeronautical commercial Glenn Wedlock said in a statement.
"With the average Chinese travelers spending 3,400 NZ dollars ( 2,852 U.S. dollars) per visit, that means around 117 million NZ dollars was spent during the Chinese New Year."
The Chinese New Year holiday period, which ran from Jan. 31 to Feb. 14 this year, was a crucial time for both the New Zealand tourism industry and the national economy, but the figures were also a warning against complacency amid growing global competition, he said.
"Already the Seychelles has introduced a visa waiver scheme and Thailand has introduced a visa on-arrival scheme to attract more Chinese travelers," said Wedlock.
"The lesson from the 2014 Chinese New Year holiday is to embrace this Chinese holiday and in doing so help drive New Zealand's travel, tourism and trade sectors."
The China Southern Airlines announcement to increase flights on the Guangzhou-Auckland route from seven to 10 per week, coupled with its Chinese New Year charter flights and other charter flights by China Eastern Airlines, had helped boost tourist numbers.
Holiday arrivals from the Chinese mainland last month were up 73.3 percent, or 11,400, year on year, Statistics New Zealand, the government statistics body, said Thursday.
Figures from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment earlier this month showed visitors from China, the second biggest market, spent a total of 732 million NZ dollars ( 614.14 million U.S. dollars), up 7 percent, but their average spending fell by 14 percent.