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Christchurch open for business

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21 September 2010

Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism (CCT) Chief Executive Ian Hay says local tourism operators have shown their resilience and commitment to visitors, with many hotels and attractions reopening their doors as soon as buildings were cleared by inspectors last week.

"It’s been an incredibly difficult time for many of us in Christchurch but the city is still standing and life is beginning to return to normal. Ninety-eight per cent of tourism operators are open, and have been since mid last week," Hay said.

Tourism New Zealand has been working with local and national tourism boards, government ministries and other industry players to ensure operators, visitors and the travel trade were kept informed of latest developments in Christchurch.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says daily information updates helped keep the international travel industry informed, with the aim of minimising cancellations and postponements.

"Close industry cooperation has been key to making sure we have the right information to pass onto our travel seller partners in market. We are now turning our focus to ensuring the travel trade and potential visitors know it’s safe to return to the Christchurch and Canterbury region," Bowler said.

"It’s a credit to the Christchurch and Canterbury tourism industry that so many operators have been able to return to business as usual - even finding the time and resources to extend help to their community - so soon after this massive event. It’s also been humbling to see the level of support that has come through from the rest of the tourism industry around New Zealand."

Ian Hay says the best thing international visitors and domestic travellers can do for Canterbury is to keep their travel plans.

Although some older buildings around the central city and Eastern residential areas have been seriously damaged by the quake, he says most of the central city remains in tact and is fully open to visitors.

"The media has been focusing on the worst aspects of the damage and, while that is understandable, it doesn’t reflect the full picture. We are working closely with the local industry and with Tourism New Zealand to ensure international visitors are aware that the Canterbury region is still a safe and fantastic place to visit," Hay said.

"The support we have received from the wider tourism industry around New Zealand - including industry associations, Tourism New Zealand, the Ministry of Economic Development and individual operators - has been phenomenal. It’s so important at this point that the tourism industry is behind us and encouraging travellers to still visit the region."

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