New Zealand expected to ‘regain popularity with Chinese students and tourists’ after borders fully open

Performers from the Wellington Chinese Sport and Cultural Center Dragon Dance Troupe perform a dragon dance during the parliamentary celebration of the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival in Wellington, New Zealand, June 21, 2021. The parliamentary celebration of the traditional Chinese dragon boat festival held in New Zealand was expected to boost understanding and cultural exchanges between the two countries. (Photo: Xinhua)

New Zealand is welcoming tourists, students and investors, including those from China, with its borders fully reopening on Monday, which analysts say is a positive sign that the country should regain its popularity with Chinese. and promote its ties with China in various fields.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a speech at the China Business Summit in Auckland on Monday that the final opening of the borders was a huge moment, while expressing a strong desire to continue bilateral cooperation with China.

“…we open our arms to tourists and students, including from China – which prior to 2020 was New Zealand’s largest source of international students and the second largest source of tourists. To those seeking to make the journey…we welcome you,” Ardern noted.

Ardern also expressed hope to resume in-person ministerial visits and lead a business delegation to China to renew and refresh in-person relations.

Responding to Ardern, Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, said at a regular press briefing on Monday that China and New Zealand are important cooperation partners.

“In the past 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, our relations have made great progress and become the first of many relations between China and a developed country, bringing tangible benefits to our two peoples,” noted Mr Zhao.

China-New Zealand relations have also become a model for relations between countries with different resource endowments, socio-economic systems and different stages of development, Zhao said.

China is ready to work with New Zealand to seize the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations to enhance mutual trust, advance practical cooperation, properly handle differences and achieve more. results in the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, the spokesperson said.

Ardern’s speech stands out against the anti-Chinese atmosphere in the US-led Western world, Chen Hong, president of the China Association for Australian Studies and director of the Australian Studies Center at the University, said on Monday. ‘East China Normal University.

Chen called on New Zealand to continue to keep a clear mind in its strategy and adhere to its independent diplomatic policy while resisting growing pressure from the United States and other Western countries and regions.

An expert surnamed Ma with EIC Education, a Beijing-based education consultancy firm that handles study abroad applications in Australia and New Zealand, predicted that the number of Chinese students studying in New Zealand should see a significant increase in the first semester of next year around February and March 2023. But in the short term, it is difficult for New Zealand to attract as many Chinese students as before the pandemic, Ma told the Global Times on Monday.

Another expert from Beijing New Oriental Vision Overseas Consulting Co. said that despite New Zealand fully reopening its borders, it has not received more inquiries. New Zealand began reopening its borders in stages earlier this year, which had already allowed some students to return to the country, so this time fully reopening the borders is unlikely to increase the number of Chinese students. who go there, said the expert.

The expert noted that currently New Zealand is in dire need of workers, which could be good news for Chinese students who want to work there after graduation.

An employee of the advertising department of major Chinese online travel agency Qunar told the Global Times on Monday that in the short term New Zealand’s latest decision would not have a big effect on Chinese tourists, given strict border restrictions imposed by China.

But given that New Zealand has long been a magnet for Chinese tourists, students and investors, the island nation should regain its popularity among them in the long run, Chen said.

The full reopening of its borders is a positive sign, although the move will not immediately lead to a full resumption of people-to-people communications with China, Chen said.

Meanwhile, the expert warned that the rise in anti-Asian cases in the island nation has recently raised concerns among the Chinese community and urged the country to take concrete steps to boost the sense of security among Asians in New Zealand.

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