25 May 2017
TRENZ 2017 was another successful event for CCT and Canterbury operators. The Canterbury cluster had 29 appointment streams with 23 operators exhibiting this year. CCT alone conducted over 200 appointments (including specific Mackenzie Region and China streams) with buyers from 29 countries.
Our key learnings:
- Buyer perceptions about Christchurch have improved and there is more willingness to dedicate longer length of stay to the city. The most common scenario is a 1-2 night stay in Christchurch for most markets, however there is still a considerable number of operators who don’t include Christchurch in their itineraries particularly from the North American, South American, UK markets.
- The biggest challenge for Christchurch is to overcome the gateway image and to cement its position as a destination in itself. Currently Christchurch is used in many itineraries as an entry/exit point with limited opportunity for visitors to spend time and money in the city, which is a challenge we are addressing.
- Many buyers were impressed with the progress that has been made in the last 12 months, however others expressed the concern about the state of the city and level of construction, noise, roadworks, and empty space for an enjoyable visitor experience.
- Numerous questions were raised about the Christchurch Cathedral. The expectations are set understandably high that after 6 years there is a solution to Cathedral situation.
- On the positive, the concept of the Avon River Precinct as the centrepiece for the city and the continuation of the "Garden City" image was very well received.
- There is a still a misconception about the lack of things to do in Christchurch and more trade education is needed in market about what the city has to offer particularly around the commissionable product. There is a feeling of expectation that new attractions/ activities should be developed as the city redefines itself.
- News about the increased accommodation capacity in Christchurch in the next 12 months was well received by all buyers. This will create a competitive advantage for Christchurch at a time when other centres around NZ are under immense pressure for hotel beds.
- Canterbury messages were very well received with established destinations like Mackenzie experiencing unprecedented demand and new locations like Waipara starting to gain traction amongst the international travel sellers.
- Accommodation issues in Mackenzie were raised in several appointments as availability is extremely limited, which poses a real risk for the region’s long term growth.
- A lot of questions were asked about Kaikoura, activity in the region and road access. The good news is that Kaikoura is back in Chinese travel trade itineraries with marine wildlife viewing and fishing dominating demand for the destination.
- Chinese buyers are starting to feel more confident about promoting Christchurch. Destinations like Akaroa are a big drawcard for this market which will help to increase the length of stay in Christchurch as FIT numbers continue to grow.
- There is a lot of demand for premium product and experiences, unique accommodation, gardens events and tours and new product in general.
If you would like to know more about TRENZ and how to work with trade please contact Julia Hunt.