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Sunday 18 November 2018

Christchurch aims to attract Australian tourists

When I think of flying into New Zealand, I, like most Australians, I suspect, usually consider Auckland or Wellington as my primary destination, or perhaps Queenstown.

Now New Zealand and Christchurch tourism bodies are aiming to encourage Aussies to fly into Christchurch Airport as part of a new tourism campaign.

The spiel goes like this: "Australians, listen up. We'll help you swim with dolphins, taste some of the world's finest wines, go punting down a river, soak in natural hot pools, eat world-renowned cuisine, see progressive art and hike up million-year old mountains. It all starts in Christchurch."

Together with Christchurch Airport and economic development and city profile agency ChristchurchNZ, Tourism New Zealand is encouraging Australian visitors to book a holiday in Christchurch in autumn 2019, with day-trip itineraries that take in all the above sights and experiences.

“Australian visitors are a key market for us," says Andrew Waddel, Tourism New Zealand's general manager for Australia.

"In the past, there has been a perception the South Island could only be experienced over a fortnight or month, but recently we've been able to prove to Australian travellers they can have amazing experiences in the South Island, no matter how little time they have.

“Christchurch is a vibrant city experiencing rapid change and growth, and international visitors are exploring the city to see the exciting transformation. It is the perfect base for Australian visitors and start from in the South Island – especially in autumn.

"There are very few places on earth where you can experience such an array of activities within a few hours of your base. We have compiled itineraries offering experiences as day trips from Christchurch.”

The campaign features a new video that follows an Australian couple as they explore the region, including the farmers' market in Lyttelton, wine tasting in Waipara, jet boating and hot pools in Hanmer Springs, swimming with dolphins in Akaroa, punting down the Avon River, and enjoying street art and food.

Christchurch Airport's Chief Aeronautical and Commercial Officer's Justin Watson says Australians are a major contributor to Christchurch's economy.

“This campaign is the third time we have partnered with Tourism New Zealand on a Christchurch campaign, and previous campaigns have proved very successful in increasing the profile of the region and boosting the number of Australian arrivals in autumn." he said.

"With increased air capacity and direct flights from most Australian ports, Christchurch offers an easy getaway for Australians and autumn is a wonderful time to visit with gold and red hues dominating the region and vineyards harvesting – it's picture-perfect.”

The campaign runs until December 2 and promotes travel to Christchurch between March-May 2019.

Trade partner Virgin Australia has provided special flight deals from Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne, and is supporting advertising for the length of the campaign.

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