WELLINGTON, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand tourism officials Wednesday hailed the country's winning of the "world's best luxury destination" award from the Shanghai Travelers Club.
The club's 2013 Luxury Travel Awards also named Auckland International Airport the "world's best airport," and the South Island's Whare Kea Lodge the "best Asia-Pacific boutique hotel" and Millbrook the "best Asia-Pacific golf course."
The results followed a vote by the 3,400 Chinese members of the Shanghai Travelers' Club, according to the government's Tourism New Zealand agency.
Tourism New Zealand general manager Asia Tony Everitt said the announcement was fantastic news as the marketing board was focusing its efforts on attracting "high-value" Chinese visitors.
"Earlier this year we announced our Premier Kiwi Partnership ( PKP) program, developed to generate greater value from the burgeoning Chinese market by targeting those travelers likely to spend more time and money on visits to New Zealand," he said in a statement.
"Through PKP and our other China marketing initiatives, we aim to change the nature of holidays taken by Chinese visitors and the contribution they make to the New Zealand economy. This award supports our belief that New Zealand can be successfully promoted in China as a premium destination."
Under PKP, Tourism New Zealand was working with selected inbound tour operators and China-based travel agents to develop and market innovative packages offering longer-stay, higher- quality itineraries in New Zealand.
The awards come just two months after Tourism New Zealand brand ambassador Chinese actress Yao Chen married in the South Island ski resort of Queenstown and broadcast photos of the luxury event to around 35 million social media followers.
November 2012 international visitor arrival statistics showed that China had overtaken the United Kingdom to become New Zealand' s second largest source of arrivals.