Air New Zealand to give away free flights to Wellington

Air New Zealand is to offer up to 1000 free domestic flights in a bid to bring more Chinese visitors to the capital.

On Monday the airline, which has direct daily flights between Auckland and Shanghai, launched a new campaign in partnership with Wellington Airport, "72 hours in Wellington".

The campaign will see up to 1000 visitors from Shanghai and Hong Kong offered the chance of a free connection from Auckland or Christchurch to Wellington.

Local tourism operators are providing offers at local attractions, hotels and restaurants, in a programme coordinated through the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency.

"Our 72 hours in Wellington campaign is all about making Wellington a 'must-see' destination for the hundreds of thousands of Chinese visitors to New Zealand every year," Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said.

Wellington Airport chief executive Steven Sanderson said the capital was becoming a more prominent destination for Chinese visitors.

"Wellington has a fantastic tourism product and the city has seen a significant increase in Chinese visitor spend relative to other parts of the country," Sanderson said.

"This campaign is part of a wider strategy to encourage more travellers across Asia to visit the Wellington region."