A tramway colleague told me his visitors from Britain had been advised to give Christchurch a miss, with there being nothing to do in the earthquake-wrecked city. Sadly, the story is not an isolated tale. Too many international tourist booking agencies still believe Christchurch is a disaster zone.
This is despite prestigious Lonely Planet guide recommending Christchurch as a city to visit in 2013, which prompted a request from Singapore Airlines for a story titled Christchurch Arising (published in Silverkris inflight magazine February 2013).
This year Christchurch was rated number two on the New York Times’ list of recommended cities to visit.
The fact is Christchurch has much to offer visitors. Our Welcome Aboard Christchurch company has made a huge contribution to visitor attractions by re-opening the Gondola on the Port Hills a year ago and more recently the buzzing city heritage tramway. A Welcome Aboard daily Grand Tour provides the ideal package for an active day in the city at a great price.
Add to that the many funky cafes and a colourful shipping container shopping mall along with brilliant street art appearing on blank city walls, festivals and stunning exhibitions (don’t miss the Oi You Rise street art exhibition at Canterbury Museum, which is on Rolleston Avenue across from a tram stop).
Singapore Airlines general manager for New Zealand Edwin Chiang, recently in Christchurch, advises Tourism New Zealand and airlines to keep reminding potential inbound tourists that Christchurch is on the road to recovery from the quakes.
Singapore Airlines added additional flights to Christchurch this summer (in addition to its daily direct service between Christchurch and Singapore) and plans to do the same for the next summer season. The airline is also refitting aircraft used on its service to and from Christchurch.
Chiang said the Christchurch recovery, in his view, was moving in the right direction and was being assisted by increasing accommodation options.
Welcome Aboard’s heritage tramway offers the ideal way to experience the city and hear about what happened as a result of earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 along with the exciting future already being created here in the city.
The Tram Station ticket office at the Cathedral Junction tram stop offers information and tickets for other Welcome Aboard attractions. Don’t miss the Caterpillar Botanic Gardens Tour or Punting on the Avon, the latter accessed from two tram stops.