7 May 2012

Changes needed to cater to Asian travellers

6:58 am on 7 May 2012

A tourism expert says language barriers, late-night dining and catering for Muslims are just some of the challenges that operators will increasingly have to deal with as more Asians want to visit here.

The Tourism Industry Rendezvous New Zealand conference starts in Queenstown on Monday and one of the speakers is Trevor Lee of TravConsult, who will discuss how to meet the needs of Asian tourists.

Mr Lee, who has been brought here by Auckland International Airport Ltd, believes New Zealand should attract the affluent traveller, rather than the budget, tour group market.

He says more people from China, India and Indonesia are interested in coming here, but operators should be aware of their particular needs, like the Indian preference to eat later than New Zealanders do.

Mr Lee says most Indians don't have breakfast until 9 or 10am, compared to the average New Zealander who has breakfast between 6 and 8am.

He says Indian travellers may want to lunch at 3pm and have dinner all the way up to 11pm which means that operators will have to change their schedules to fit in with what appeals to the Indian tourist.

Mr Lee says most Indians and Indonesians speak some English, but the Chinese market will prove more difficult in terms of language and it will be important to make sure there is some information available in Chinese, whether it's printed or having a Chinese speaker available.

He says many Indonesian travellers are Muslim and they have specific dietary requirements.

Mr Lee says it's up to the industry to learn what they need to do and put measures in place in order to appeal to these travellers.