New strategy to ensure tourists come to Christchurch

Christchurch International Airport (CIAL) is working with the tourism industry to develop a new strategy to ensure tourists continue to fly in and out of Christchurch Airport to travel in the South Island.

"We have always been the major gateway for international travellers to come to the South Island and we still intend to be," said CIAL Chief Executive Jim Boult. "Tourists spend $4.3 billion a year in the South Island, so keeping this industry alive and thriving is vital to the renewal of Christchurch and the well-being of the South Island economy."

A team from Christchurch Airport, Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism, and Tourism New Zealand met to discuss ways to reassure travellers that New Zealand is still a great place to visit.

"A large percentage of hotel rooms in Christchurch are unavailable because they are damaged or are in the CBD," explained Jim Boult.  "So one of the key issues is how to move people quickly and easily from the airport to remaining accommodation both within and outside Christchurch."

He went on to say that there is still some accommodation in Christchurch as most motels have continued operating. "There are approximately 1900 motel rooms in Christchurch, mostly in the suburbs. Ninety five percent of the motels in Christchurch are operational.   At the moment, these are full with emergency response personnel, but they will gradually become available for travellers in the near future."

Christchurch Airport is arranging a meeting next week of all Regional Tourism offices and airlines involved in the South Island to address the issue of maintaining a strong tourism industry.

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