Hastings has been in the top five New Zealand cities covered by China’s largest news agency, Xinhua, over the past few
months – with a focus on the Amazing China-Hastings Year of Tourism project.
The Hastings Blossom Festival is the latest news to make it in front of Xinhua’s audience of millions.
While the whole parade was covered, it was the Amazing China-Hastings Year of Tourism float which piqued the agency’s
interest. “This is exactly what the Year of Tourism is about,” said Hastings district councillor and project director
“The Amazing China-Hastings Year of Tourism is certainly raising Hastings’ profile in front of millions of people in
China, putting our beautiful district and wider region in front of them so when they are planning a holiday to New
Zealand, they know we are a place they should visit.”
The parade also featured on China-org’s media feed, in the Asia Pacific Daily, and through the network of the China
Culture Centre in Wellington.
“Surprisingly, we also got coverage in Namibia which we weren’t expecting, but we welcome interest in Hastings from
The ACHYOT builds on the strong trade, educational and friendship relationships Hastings has with regions across China.
It is part of the national China-New Zealand Year of Tourism, designed to increase cultural understanding and
relationships between the two countries, leading to expanded tourism and trade opportunities. Many New Zealand regions
are involved in projects under the national programme, however Hastings’ is unique amongst them.
Hastings is sending a treasure chest holding a gift representing the district to each participating region in China. In
return, each of those regions is sending a treasure chest to Hastings, holding
something that uniquely represents their region.
The project will then morph into a competition for Hastings secondary school students in early 2020, with participants
researching to match the contents of the China chests with their home region. The first three to get them right will win
trips to China.
“By combining the parade and the ACHYOT, we have been able to reach millions of people in China. That country is about
to being the largest groups of tourists to our shores. They are much more independent than the traditional Chinese
tourist and are looking for new and different places to visit, outside of the traditional Auckland, Rotorua and
“We want to make sure we are on their radar,” said Mr Watkins.
Media coverage in China has included the Amazing China-Hastings Year of Tourism project, the official China launch of
the project in Beijing, and the Blossom Parade. The next coverage will be the contents of the chests going to China.