Christchurch and Canterbury region of New Zealand scores record tourism numbers again


A bumper ski season, early spring weather, and strong destination marketing has seen Canterbury’s tourism sector reach record numbers again in August. Figures released by Statistics New Zealand on Monday show Canterbury had the largest increase in domestic guest nights in short-term commercial accommodation in August 2009 – up 6 percent on August 2008.

The Statistics New Zealand figures are backed up by Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism’s own statistics, which show i-SITE bookings were up significantly in August. Accommodation bookings rose by 19 percent, attraction bookings by 25 percent, and outdoor activities bookings by 12 percent, compared with August 2008.

Australia was number one again, for the fourth month in a row, with Australians’ overall spend in Christchurch’s i-SITE Visitor Centre increasing by a record 44 percent.

Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism (CCT) chief executive Christine Prince is delighted the region is performing so well. He said: “CCT has been using seasonal marketing campaigns over the past year to promote Christchurch and Canterbury as a short-break destination to Australians and to domestic travelers, so it’s fabulous to see these strong results come through this winter.

“The excellent ski season has certainly helped our cause and attracted a lot of Australian holiday-makers to our shores, but we’re also becoming the destination of choice for many New Zealanders who are realizing they don’t have to travel far in order to have a wonderful holiday. They’re starting to realize just how much Canterbury has to offer and to appreciate its role as the heart of the South Island.

“The i-SITE has been offering a number of ‘best deals’ giving visitors very compelling pricing on different experiences, which have proved very popular.”

Christchurch attractions such as The International Antarctic Centre experienced excellent results during August. Rubicon Valley Horse Treks at Springfield, 50 minutes west of Christchurch had an exceptionally good month in August, and the trend is continuing into September and October, said owner/operator Chris Lowe.

“As a reasonably new business, we attribute our success to our reputation for good service and great feedback from our clients who spread the message via word of mouth,” he said. “Our region’s good weather and greater numbers of Australian visitors as also helped.”

Christine Prince says not only are visitors making the most of Canterbury’s big backyard, they’re also spending time in Christchurch enjoying the city’s cultural attractions and entertainment. Distinctive Christchurch attractions such as Punting and the Tram were hot sellers in the i-SITE during August, with combination tickets almost doubling in sales compared to the previous August.

“We’re confident visitor numbers will continue to increase and that next year’s results will be even stronger,” Ms. Prince said.

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