The Christchurch of the future should be promoted as one of the most sustainable cities in the world, says Lincoln University tourism professor David Simmons.
If the rebuild goes according to wish lists and public opinion, Christchurch should promote itself as a beacon, reignited from the quake recovery.
"People are optimistic. They want to see Christchurch as the most sustainable city in the world then people will check it out to get a glimpse of the future ...," Simmons said.
"I understand there has been good engagement with the Christchurch tourism sector into the CCDU plan [Christchurch Central Development Unit plan due to be released on July 27]. At the end of the day attractiveness is one thing, location is another but having the absolutely right attraction mix is very important," he said.
Yesterday Simmons released his State of the Tourism Sector 2012 report, briefing the Canterbury tourism industry.
His was one of two surveys released yesterday. The other, from the Economic Development Ministry (MED), shows it remains as tough for tourism operators as it did after the February 22 earthquake.
Rodney Bennett, owner of High Country Explorer Tours, said for many the period until October would be more difficult than last winter.
He had recently made a submission to Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism saying no one in their right mind would invest in tourism in Christchurch in the way of new hotels unless there was an adequate return.
The MED's quarterly industry monitor dropped to 52 in the May quarter, down from a record high of 144 in September 2011. Index values below 100 indicate more pessimists than optimists.
"After record high confidence levels during the Rugby World Cup, the tourism industry has reverted to levels of confidence similar to the same time last year, when the business confidence index registered 56," ministry tourism researcher Peter Ellis said.
For the first time in the past year, respondents in the South Island were more confident than those in the North Island.
Simmons said the quakes should not be seen as a negative.
"I know there is concern about our hotel stock, I know there is concern about a [lack of] convention centre. But I think there is still, particularly in the tourism sector, a lot of empathy around the Christchurch situation and how important it is [for domestic tourism."