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Friday, February 28, 2014

Christchurch tipped as top tourist destination

Three years after a devastating earthquake,Christchurch’s tourism industry is resurging and opportunities abound for those wanting to invest in the city’s tourism infrastructure.

Christchurch is being consistently singled out by travel-writers,as one of the most exciting destinations in the world to visit.
unnamed (1)In recent months,the New York Times, Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor,and Architectural Digest have all hailed the city for its creativity, and recommended people visit.
The influential New York Times,ranked Christchurch at number two on its list of 52 places to go in 2014, while travel website Trip Advisor put Christchurch at the top of its list of South Pacific Destinations on the Rise.
Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism Chief Executive Tim Huntersays:‘‘Clearly people are excited about what they see happening in Christchurch and share our belief that a very bright future lies ahead for our city.”
The New Zealand government, local government, insurance companies,and private investors are ploughing about NZD$40 billion into the rebuild of Christchurch, making it the largest economic undertaking in New Zealand’s history.
unnamedWork is underway to build a new city centre that capitalises on Christchurch’s natural assets – its stunning river and parklands – and features state-of-the art facilities for sports and the performing arts.
‘‘The earthquake of three years ago was devastating but it has presented us with a unique opportunity to re-invent ourselves and to create something truly special in Christchurch’s central city’,’ addsMr Hunter.
The creation of a new river park that will form a green ribbon through Christchurch’s new central business district is well underway,and will be the first of a series of anchor projects that will completely transform the central city.
Work is also underway on a new US$100 million retail and entertainment precinct that will front onto the river park and be known as The Terrace.
‘‘We have 850 cafes, restaurants and bars open now in the city and hospitality outlets are now at more than 85% of pre-quake levels’,’ says Mr Hunter. ‘‘All of the city’s icon tourist attractions are operating, including the distinctive heritage Tramway, the Port Hills Gondola and the double-decker Discover Christchurch bus tours. They provide a great way for visitors to explore and learn more about the city as it evolves.’’
Later this year work will start on Christchurch’s new convention centre precinct,which is planned to open in 2017. With flexible space options, the centre will be able to host several events at the same time, starting with space for up to 2,000 people and expanding to 2,500 in future years.
Mr Hunter is keen to see more investment in tourism infrastructure and believes there are great opportunities in Christchurch for savvy investors.
The interest in Christchurch is evidenced by the growing number of domestic and international air services into the city.
Singapore Airlines has committed to operating 18 extra services to Christchurch over the 2014/15 summer in addition to their already daily B777 services, and is soon to treat passengers to its new seating and interior cabin design. China Southern Airlines has just brought a new B787 Dreamliner to Christchurch, as part of a one-off charter programme for Chinese New Year.
‘‘The extra airline services reflect the growing demand for travel to Christchurch and should lead to some healthy growth in our visitor numbers,’’ says Mr Hunter.
‘‘In the year ended June 2013 we had 205,000 visitors come through the Christchurch i-SITE centre.  We’re anticipating a 20 per cent increase on that number this year and strong growth in the following years. The potential of Christchurch as a destination is huge.''
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