New Zealand's strained political relationship with China - following the ban of Huawei from building part of its 5G networks - is costing the country more than it can afford.
That's especially true in its tourism industry which China has become the nation's second-largest source of visitors and contributed millions of dollars to its annual tourism income.
In the latest move, China postponed an event to launch the 2019 China-New Zealand Year of Tourism, which had been scheduled to take place on February 20 at Te Papa in Wellington, New Zealand, New Zealand authorities said on Tuesday, according to a Reuters report.
Bilateral relations have soured since November, after New Zealand followed certain Western countries' moves and barred Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei from building a 5G local network, citing national security reasons. The move sparked widespread complaints among Chinese netizens.
The tourism initiative, signed off in April 2017, is part of New Zealand tourism authorities' effort to attract Chinese visitors and make China its largest tourist market in terms of spending by 2023.
During the seven-day Spring Festival holiday which ended on February 10, New Zealand was not ranked in the top 10 overseas tourist destinations on online travel platform lvmama, a spokesperson told the Global Times.
China is very important to New Zealand's tourism industry. Last year, 450,000 Chinese visited New Zealand, making China the nation's second-largest source of international tourists after Australia.
It is expected that China will become New Zealand's largest tourist market in terms of spending by 2023, contributing NZ$ 4.3 billion ($2.93 billion) a year to its economy, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
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