Rubble, rebuild Christchurch's new tourist drawcard

Posted 20 Jun 2012 by TourismChCh Popular

 

A new market is opening up for tourists wanting to see the earthquake damage and the rebuilding of Christchurch.

A national bus tour company is putting the city back on its map because of the demand.

Backpacker bus service Magic Bus has just resurrected Christchurch on its circuit.

Brian Henderson of Magic Bus says tourists will probably want to see what has happened to the Cathedral and some of the other historic buildings.

"Just seeing that devastation is of interest."

The bus company's passengers themselves are requesting the stopover.

"Typically Magic's passengers are a little bit more adventurous. They want to see something different. So you've sort of got quite a story there being told," Henderson said.

It is a story that the city's promoters say needs to be shared.

Tim Hunter of Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism says the earthquake is part of the city's history.

"It's the biggest thing to happen to the city. We can't not talk about it and and we can't not share it. And it is very interesting to visitors," Hunter said.

Twenty-eight thousand people took bus tours behind the cordon when they were run for a few weeks last year. Now Red Bus is exploring whether it can operate them as a commercial venture.

Helicopter operators are being kept busy also, still flying at least twice a day over the city.

"We can fly right over the cordons. People can see the demolition and all the work that is already starting in the city," said Daniel Currie of Garden City Helicopters.

Visitor numbers are still down 20 percent on pre-earthquake days. That is 100,000 fewer people visiting Christchurch than any other year. Tourism bodies say how the city is marketed overseas now will restore confidence in overseas markets.

"Christchurch is now a pretty interesting place," Hunter said.

Tourism bodies hope Christchurch is interesting enough to bring the tourist dollar back to town.

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