Quake-hit tourism operators bouncing back

7:43 am on 5 January 2012

Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism says despite a bleak year, many local operators have developed new tours and offers to survive the post-quake downturn.

Tourism in the South Island region has dropped by more than 40% as a result of the devastating February earthquake, and tremors in December have dealt the region another blow.

Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter says although the December quakes were a setback for the local industry, the tourism infrastructure was not damaged.

Mr Hunter says some small operators have decided to call it quits but most have proved resilient, developing new products and deals to capture the domestic market.

Air Asia's direct flights into Christchurch have also boosted Asian tourist figures, he says, with the number of Malaysian visitors reaching 13,000 last year compared with 2000 in 2010.

Mr Hunter says many Christchurch operators are also capitalising on Akaroa's cruise ship trade, taking buses over to meet passengers.