Visitors needed, say Canterbury tourist operators

10:06 am on 11 September 2010

The regional tourism body in Canterbury is calling on visitors to return to the area to help economic recovery after the earthquake.

Christchurch and Canterbury Marketing chief executive Ian Hay says about 12% of Cantabrians work in the the tourism industry, which he describes as a critical part of the local economy.

Surprisingly few visitors cancelled their holiday plans in the last week, Mr Hay says, although many opted not to visit Christchurch city itself.

He says with the major infrastructure now in good working order, the city needs tourists back to kickstart the recovery.

He says 98% of tourism operators are fully functional with no significant damage, while mayor Bob Parker says large parts of the city are still functioning, and open for business.

Airport checked

The runways and terminals at Christchurch International Airport are being checked regularly by engineers to ensure passenger safety.

The airport's marketing manager, Gareth Owen, says the infrastructure has been certified as structurally sound, but assessments will continue until the aftershocks have stopped.

Mr Owen says passenger numbers have been stable for the last week.