A cooling of relations between China and New Zealand has turned icy as Chinese state media reports tourists are cancelling their trips to the land of the long white cloud.
The article suggests tourists are considering abandoning their travel plans as a way to “punish” New Zealand over its decision to ban Chinese telecommunications company Huawei from operating in the country last year.
According to the ABC, Beijing-based worker was quoted in the article referring to New Zealand’s move as a robbery.
“Is it a kind of robbery?” he asked.
“New Zealand stabbed us in the back but asks for our money? This is double-faced.”
The article joins a range of signs of a strained relationship between the two countries, including Beijing pulling the plug on a landmark tourism partnership dubbed the “China-New Zealand Year of Tourism” and an Air New Zealand flight being denied permission to land in Shanghai.
An Air New Zealand spokesperson told Travel Weekly last week the turn around was due to a “technicality”.
China is the fastest growing tourism market to New Zealand and numbers are expected to double by 2023 to around 913,000 visitors, as per the ABC.