Tourism New Zealand and the Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand (TIA) have stressed that the country remains “open for business” despite the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated Christchurch on Saturday.
Tourists were warned against all but essential travel to Christchurch, where a state of emergency has been declared, by the tourist board’s chief executive Kevin Bowler.
However, he emphasised that the rest of the country had been unaffected and tourism was continuing normally.
Tourism NZ and TIA are liaising to ensure existing and intending visitors are receiving consistent, accurate and up to date information.
“We are working to get the message out that while parts of Christchurch and Canterbury have suffered major infrastructure damage, many tourism businesses are operating normally and visitors can fly in and out of the airport,” the TIA said in a statement to its members.
Tourism New Zealand has stated that most accommodation providers in the city are open; all holiday parks in Christchurch are operating as usual and only one motel has been closed.
However, visitors are still encouraged to contact their travel agent or the accommodation provider directly before arriving.
Christchurch Airport was closed for a short time this morning (Tuesday, September 7) as a safety precaution following a severe aftershock. However, the airport has since been approved by structural engineers and is now fully operational for domestic and international flights, both incoming and outgoing. Travellers can expect delays, however, and should contact their airline to confirm their travel schedule.
Update from Continental Event Catering and Event Hire
Mona Vale is closed today. The gracious old lady has lost her chimneys, otherwise fortunately additional damage appears to be minimal and we anticipate the Homestead being back in operation very soon.
Extraordinarily, the recently restored Bathhouse next to the Homestead, which has just come through a two-year restoration, is completely in tact – amazing considering it’s virtually all glass.
Air Force Museum has advised they have not sustained any damage, but as a public building they remain closed until clearance by structural engineers. We anticipate this to occur within the few days.
The Christchurch Arts Centre has sustained various amounts of damage, including the large chimney of The Great Hall collapsing internally. We await advice of engineers’ reports of when this will be cleared and stabilised.
The International Antarctic Centre is fully operational as a visitor attraction and event venue.
Christchurch City Art Gallery is currently the Civil Defence Headquarters and has held up exceptionally well.
Although the shock of the quake was felt in Blenheim, the Brancott Winery Restaurant remains in tact and fully operational.
Continental’s headquarters, main production kitchen and Event Hire base are located in Rangiora, a township 30km north of the Christchurch CBD. There has been very little property loss and no obvious structural damage to our offices or our retail Continental Bakery, or damage to the Hires equipment. Uninterrupted power supply and no water contamination in Rangiora meant we could remain fully operational throughout.
The clean up begins
Christchurch was hit by an earthquake that measured 7.1 on the Richter scale on Saturday morning, throwing the city into waves of panic and frustration as thousands of residents tried to evacuate. The rocked city was in tatters as infrastructure and supply lines were disrupted.
“Parts of the city look like they have been put in the tumble dryer and given a darn good shake,” Prime Minister John Key, who grew up in Christchurch, said.
“You can see utter devastation.”
Much of the city centre remained sealed off and under curfew for a second night on Sunday, Breaking Travel News reported.
More than 500 buildings have been badly damaged. Two men were seriously hurt by falling masonry but there have been no reports of deaths.
Bulldozers are heavily involved in the clean-up of fallen masonry, part of a recovery process which is expected to take years and costs billions of dollars.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.C