Christchurch tourism leaders are hoping to re-establish the city as a leading conference destination, almost four years after it was struck by two earthquakes.
New Zealand’s former second most populous city was left devastated in February 2011 when a 6.3 magnitude quake caused widespread damage in the city. This followed a 7.1 quake, which had struck six months earlier.
Around 70 percent of the shops, hotels and office buildings in the heart of the city were demolished along with the 131-year-old Anglican cathedral church – a popular tourist attraction.
Since, the government has focused on rebuilding the city, a task which in April last year was projected to cost $33.9 billion.
The city is now ready to accept travellers, with a number of hotels having reopened including the Ibis, Novotel, Heritage and Rendezvous.
The next phase is to rebuild the city’s events sector. This started with the government receiving calls of interest from contractors to build the new Convention Centre Precinct.
Due to start construction early next year, it will be able to cater for up to 2,000 people and hold multiple events at one time.
The wider precinct will also be able to accommodate hotels as well as commercial and residential development.
Also in 2015, Christchurch will host the country’s annual Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) conference.
Held between 29 and 30 September, the gathering will showcase new venues now open in the city.
“We have remained open for business, focusing on domestic conferences with particular success and taking our New Zealand conference market share from a low of 2 per cent to 10 percent today.”
Caroline Blanchfield, Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Bureau manager
Are you keen to see how Christchurch has been brought back to life?
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