New Zealand welcomes Chinese travelers through eGate border technology

Dunstan lake near Queenstown New Zealand, south island – Chinese passport holders over the age of 12 can use the eGate service in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown International Airports. Source: NaughtyNut/Shutterstock

QUEUING at airports is something everyone dreads, either heading off on vacation or reluctantly coming home, we would all just rather get the airport bit out of the way – and New Zealand understands this, which is why they have introduced eGate passport control for Chinese passport holders, over the age of 12.

The southern hemispheric country is a top destination for travelers across the globe. However, the second biggest visitor market to New Zealand is those who are traveling from China. The eGate allows travelers to bypass the booths, manned by border controllers, and in the process skip the lengthy queues.

The automated process takes around ten seconds and matches the passport photo to the one the machine takes of you as you step up to the booth. If the two pictures match, you simply step through and voilà – you’re free to explore your destination.

The eGate technology has been available in the country for travelers who have a New Zealand, Australian, British, Canadian or US passport since 2009, across many airports including Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown.

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The rate of Chinese nationals acquiring biometric passports since the were first introduced in 2012, has soared to an estimated 100 million people. This significant growth makes it imperative that surrounding countries keep up with travelers demand for quick and convenient travel.

From September 2016 until now, more than 400,000 Chinese passport holders have visited New Zealand, this has contributed over US$2.3 billion to the country’s economy, Gregg Wafelbakker, Tourism New Zealand’s General Manager told Travel Daily News.

“Most major international airports now provide an eGate service, however, New Zealand is one of the few countries outside of China that has extended the service to Chinese e-passport holders,” added Wafelbakker. “It is just another way that New Zealand is extending the welcome mat to China and ensuring travelers enjoy the 100 percent Pure New Zealand experience.”