Downhill attraction rides airport's wave of growth

Christchurch Airport is welcoming two pieces of good tourism news on the same day - a multi-million dollar tourism attraction on the Port Hills and thousands more trans-Tasman seats into Christchurch next summer.

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia yesterday announced 43-thousand additional trans-Tasman seats into Christchurch next summer, just as the Government's $2 million contribution to the $22.5m project mountain biking project was made public.

Chief Executive Malcolm Johns says the downhill mountain bike park has the potential to be an iconic attractor for Christchurch.

"The park, with chairlift, restaurant and accommodation gives Canterbury a real shot at being a world class mountain biking destination," he says. "Tourism NZ and Bike NZ have correctly assessed this will put New Zealand on the world map alongside destinations like Whistler in Canada.

"It is an example of the kind of fresh and inspirational iconic attractors this city needs to bring visitors here. We endorse and support all such efforts which fit with our long-stated aim to bring more international visitors to the South Island/New Zealand in through Christchurch Airport."

Airport company chairman David Mackenzie says CIAL has identified a number of initiatives required to support the airport's drive for more visitors.

"There is no doubt this mountain bike park is significant for the city, the region and the South Island and is sure to attract many visitors in through the airport. We are aware of and are supporting several parties working on creative projects for the city and hope they all come to fruition."

Malcolm Johns says new statistics reveal continued growth in passenger movements between Christchurch and international markets.

"For the month of April, growth in passenger arrivals through this airport exceeded national averages by being up 12%.  Our April China arrivals were up 31.9%, compared to a national decline of -1.4%.  Australian arrivals were up 19% and other April standouts include USA up 39%, UK up 18.1  and Germany up 8.7%," he says.


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