28 Aug 2015
Record numbers of Chinese tourists are visiting New Zealand, and Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism research shows most Chinese visitors prefer a taste of home while travelling.
This means the region's cafes are having to up their game to cater for this rapidly growing market. They're changing their menus to incorporate Asian options, to reflect research findings that while 62 per cent of independent travellers would like both Chinese and non-Chinese food options on holiday, up to 27 per cent prefer to stick to the food they're familiar with.
Enter the Roadside Food Project, a partnership between Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism and CPIT's Food and Hospitality Department. In front of an audience of about 50 café owners from Kaikoura to Twizel, CPIT's culinary tutors recently fired up the woks to demonstrate how to cook a range of Asian dishes. Options included fish cakes, rice paper rolls, stir-fry and laksa dishes.
The cooking demonstrations, held in Christchurch and Timaru in May and June, went down well according to Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism's General Manager of Marketing Rowan Worner.
"Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism is really excited about this project and its continued progression. The initial activity has seen a great level of interest and enthusiasm from cafès around the Canterbury region. We appreciate the expertise that CPIT has brought to the project through the partnership."
The tourism organisation is now endeavouring to ensure the project's momentum continues, and that the initiative is implemented successfully so that satisfaction levels from visiting Asian tourists increases. This is in line with research in the last year showing that China has consolidated its position as New Zealand's second largest visitor market after Australia, followed by the United States, Europe and Japan, with tourist numbers at the highest growth rate in nine years.