98% of tourist places still ok after quake

Christchurch earthquake aftermath

07 Sep 2010

International travellers bound for the New Zealand city of Christchurch are being reassured that 98% of tourism operators are open for business following Saturday’s serious earthquake.

Christchurch airport is fully operational and the tourism community is working together to make sure guests are well looked after. Those visitors due to arrive in the region are being asked to check with their travel agent or accommodation provider to double check arrangements.

Christchurch is in recovery mode following the serious earthquake which measured 7.1 on the Richter scale and caused widespread damage.

Canterbury Tourism
Tourism New Zealand is working with Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism and emergency services in the region to get reliable information to visitors and travel sellers.

The tourism community reports that 98% of its members are open for business.

With Christchurch International Airport up and running, international and domestic visitors are able to land and depart as well as connect with other cities and regions.

The earthquake has not affected other parts of New Zealand.

Outside of Christchurch, the rest of the Canterbury region including Kaikoura, Hanmer and all ski fields are unaffected. Akaroa, on Banks Peninsula, has experienced only minor damage and is open for business.

Car hire and campervan companies are conducting business as usual. All holiday parks are open, hotels are largely unaffected and only one motel and one hotel have been closed. Guests have been relocated elsewhere.

Recovering well
Tourism New Zealand chief executive, Kevin Bowler, said the tourism industry was pulling together to support Christchurch and the city was recovering well – but safety remained the priority.

“Christchurch city is recovering well after the earthquake. For safety reasons, Civil Defence still has a cordon in place around a few blocks of the central city but the remainder of the city is accessible. The cordon is being reviewed daily.

“Virtually all tourism operators in the Christchurch region are open, but visitors are advised to contact their travel agents or accommodation providers before arriving in the city,” said Bowler.

For those transiting through Christchurch to other regions, holidays will be unaffected.

Travellers who have bookings for travel to Christchurch and Canterbury over the next few weeks are advised to keep their bookings, and maintain regular contact with their travel providers for the latest updates, said Bowler.

After shocks
Christchurch and the Canterbury region has continued to experience after shocks since Saturday’s earthquake and for that reason some of the central business district remains closed to protect public safety.

Night time curfews have been lifted, but restrictions on movement around the city will continue until further notice.

All Christchurch bus services are operating as normal.

THL (Maui, Britz, Backpacker and Explore More) tourism operators are all working again.

InterCity, Newmans and GreatSights transport services in and out of Christchurch are also operating as normal. Due to inner city cordons, the pick-up point has been moved to the Christchurch Town Hall.

Magic Travellers Network and Naked Bus services are operating on normal schedules, and passengers have been advised as to changes in pick up points.

The Metro bus network has resumed operation, including services to both the Waimakariri and Selwyn districts.

Rail services
All rail services in the Christchurch area are expected to be restored today (7.09.2010) following repairs to damage caused by the earthquake.

The Main South Line – which runs south from Christchurch – is open with a 40kph line-speed restriction, and the Midland Line west of Otira is also open.

The line between Otira and Christchurch was expected to open today (7.09.10), again with a 40kph speed restriction, enabling the Tranz Alpine rail service to resume.

The Main North Line – which suffered four kilometres of damage in the Kaiapoi area – is also open again.

Tranz Coastal passenger services are expected to resume between Christchurch and Picton on Wednesday (8.09.2010) with speed restrictions within the earthquake zone.

Background: Christchurch earthquake

On Saturday, 4 September, at 4.35am (NZ time), Christchurch (population: 340,000) was hit by a strong earthquake – the biggest in New Zealand since 1931. There were no fatalities, and only two serious injuries were reported.

The central city area was particularly hard hit and has been cordoned off from public access. It is expected the cordon will remain in place until at least Wednesday (8.09.2010 to ensure people’s safety while checks continue.

To date 550 buildings in the city have been checked, and 5% have been marked as unsafe.

A state of local emergency remains in place for Christchurch city, Selwyn and Waimakariri districts to enable emergency services to inspect and clear buildings.

Regular tourism updates will be available on:

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Author: Heather - the kiwi travel writer

Nomadic travel-writer, photographer, author & blogger. See more on http://kiwitravelwriter.com and Amazon for my books (heather hapeta)