Visitor spend in Christchurch bouncing back

26 August 2016

Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism says figures for July 2016 released today by Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show visitor spend is on the rise.

CCT chief executive, Vic Allen says the latest visitor spend survey is good news for the city and signals an excellent first step in recovery.

“Christchurch had an incredible July with visitors spending $147m, a growth of nine percent compared with four per cent growth nationally. The city recorded the strongest growth of New Zealand’s top four visitor destinations - Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown,” he says.

“Domestic growth in July was stimulated by our Pockets of Awesome campaign, encouraging locals to become ambassadors for their city. A successful winter ski campaign during the school holidays also contributed, as well as an increase in Chinese visitors coming directly into Christchurch Airport.

Visitor arrivals have now exceeded pre-quake numbers, while spend has returned to pre-quake amounts

Vic Allen, CEO Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism

“It shows the city is bouncing back from its temporary setback following the earthquakes. Visitor arrivals have now exceeded pre-quake numbers, while spend has returned to pre-quake amounts, and our research tells us visitors have high satisfaction levels,” he says.

“However we still have a long way to go to get back our market share, which was 9.2 per cent pre-earthquake and now sits at 7.8 per cent.”

The Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates for Christchurch’s regional tourism organisation show Christchurch recorded New Zealand’s second highest total visitor spend for the year to July 2016, behind Auckland.

Visitors spent nearly $2 billion in Christchurch in the year to July 2016, and just over $3 billion in the Canterbury region.

“Visitor spending is having a significant impact across our whole economy. We can see visitors are not just spending on accommodation, transport and attractions, but also in our local shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues,” Vic Allen says.

Visitor Experience Research conducted in Christchurch for Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism during January to March 2016 showed visitors rated their overall experience in the city at 8.1 out of 10.

“Their likelihood to recommend Christchurch as a holiday destination was 4.2 out of 5, and likelihood to return 4.1 out of 5,” he says.

Iconic visitor attractions, mostly unaffected by the earthquakes, such as punting on the Avon, the tram, gondola, and International Antarctic Centre were all rated highly by visitors, as were the friendly people.

The CCT visitor experience report said international visitors most frequently identified the Botanic Gardens and the people of Christchurch as the most enjoyed aspects of their visit.

Statistics New Zealand holiday arrivals this summer 2015-2016 were - up two per cent compared to the summer pre-earthquake 2009-2010. Holiday arrivals in the year to July 2016 were 301,872 a 17 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

The latest Commercial Accommodation Monitor shows international guest nights have increased by two per cent and domestic by 10 per cent in the year to June 2016.

“This can only improve as new accommodation, retail, hospitality and visitor attractions open later this year, including Christchurch Adventure Park on the Port Hills,” Vic Allen says.