With the airline doubling as the Guangzhou Tourism representative in New Zealand, new general manager Lily Wang is keen to spread the tagline, ‘Discover Guangzhou, Discover the World.’ ‘We offer a 72-hour free pass visa to explore Guangzhou,’ says Wang who hosted a group of Flighties on board the airline’s A330-200 during its turnaround at Auckland Airport on Wednesday evening. ‘Included in the pass is a half-day or full-day tour.’ There are two tour options: a bus tour from the airport leaves at 8.30am and takes in the Five Ram statue, Huacheng Plaza, Guangzhou Opera House, Canton Tower, Chen Clan Academy and Lichi Bay. Dim-sum lunch is included before returning to the airport at 2.30pm. The other tour is self-guided travelling by metro and comes with a 24-hour metro ticket, entrance to Chen Academy – the provincial arts and craft and architecture museum – and Nanyue King’s Tomb Museum that covers the history of south China.
Passengers on transit for eight to 48 hours also qualify for the free tour as well as free accommodation for one night from a choice of 20 hotels. ‘Guangzhou has great shopping,’ says Wang. ‘Our generous luggage allowance of two 23kg bags in economy and two 32kg bags in business class means you have plenty of room to bring back clothes, shoes and other shopping.’ Wang says people will find excellent food in Guangzhou – it’s actually the home of Yum-cha. Although the city has a way to go to become a holiday destination for Kiwis, Wang wants agents to encourage their clients to think about a different route to Europe. People may have been through Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, she says. ‘Why not try Guangzhou?’ European cities in China Southern’s network are London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, Frankfurt and Moscow. But Wang is quick to point out the airline’s ports throughout south Asia and India. ‘We’re seeing more Kiwis flying to Kathmandu with us,’ she says. Wang was keen for the agents to learn more about China Southern’s inflight service including the entertainment system, which has plenty of late release movies. The airline offers a three-class configuration as well as ‘economy plus’ with 15cm more legroom than economy (around $135 to upgrade). Passengers can buy class upgrades as late as check-in, at the gate, or on board.