Copy of media release from Tourism NZ
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Statement from Kevin Bowler, CEO Tourism New Zealand
“Immediately following the Christchurch earthquake our focus across the tourism and
hospitality industry has been to support and care for the many people affected by the
earthquake, including international and local visitors and the Christchurch
community. Many have needed the assistance that the industry has been very
willing to provide. Numerous stories have been relayed about the generosity
extended to visitors and others in need over this difficult time.
While this continues, attention is now shifting to the economic impacts on tourism of
this terrible event.
In this regard, the Ministry of Economic Development's Tourism Strategy Group has
begun work to assess the economic impact of the earthquake on tourism, but it is
still far too early to quantify this. A range of factors need to be evaluated over the
coming weeks, and clearly a rescue effort is still underway. A clearer picture will
emerge once access restrictions are lifted and fuller assessments of impacts on the
ground are possible.
Other current priorities for tourism are to reassure overseas markets that the
earthquake was localised to Christchurch city and Lyttelton and that other parts of
New Zealand are open, welcoming and operating as normal. Christchurch Airport is
open and operating normally and remains an important gateway into the South
Island. This means that while people are advised against non-essential travel to
Christchurch city, we are encouraging visitors to continue with their plans to visit New
Zealand. Among other things, we are working to ensure travel advisories accurately
communicate the location of the earthquake damage and do not mistakenly advise
against travel to the rest of New Zealand.
Collectively, the tourism industry’s attention is now shifting to ensuring tourism
remains strong and maintains its contribution to New Zealand’s economy. A strong
economy will be vital to helping Christchurch get back on its feet.
We have been continually providing information to overseas travel trade and people
involved in the tourism industry to keep messages about Christchurch in context with
the rest of New Zealand. Tourism New Zealand has reviewed its current marketing
activity for Christchurch and has postponed joint advertising with Christchurch and
Canterbury Tourism for the time being.
Tourism New Zealand is however aiming to sensitively reinforce to overseas trade
and media that while our hearts are with Christchurch, and the city will need some
time to recover, we must also continue to care for and host incoming visitors to the
rest of New Zealand."
Issued by Public Affairs, Tourism New Zealand