Tourism New Zealand has stressed that the country remains ‘open for business’ despite the major earthquake on Saturday morning.
The quake, measuring around 7 on the Richter scale, struck Christchurch, the largest city on the south island, badly damaging more than 500 buildings. Two people were seriously hurt by falling masonry, but there have been no reports of deaths.
While the city’s airport is now back in operation, local authorities are advising tourists planning to visit Christchurch in the next week to put off their travel plans unless the trip is essential.
Tourism New Zealand is working with regional tourist boards and emergency services to get updates to both the travel trade and visitors.
The tourist board’s Chief Executive, Kevin Bowler, said the industry was pulling together to support Christchurch, but added that the rest of the country had been unaffected and tourism was continuing normally.
“The important thing is that those living and working in Christchurch are able to sort out their own safety and well-being in the first few days following the earthquake,” said Mr Bowler.
Regular tourism updates will be available at www.newzealand.com and www.christchurchnz.com
by Andy Moreton
For one of the new ‘must-see’ places in the world, Luxique has carefully selected seven luxury hotels in New Zealand.
It’s being called the first major improvement in economy class comfort for 20 years – the chance to lie down on long-haul flights like those envied fellow travellers in business and first.
Air New Zealand is equipping its new Boeing 777-300 ER range with 22 ‘Skycouches’ in the first 11 rows of economy. The airline’s developers have created a lie-down space for two adults from three economy seats abreast that fold out and stretch right to the seats in front.
For two adults, purchasing the Skycouch will be based on buying two seats at standard prices, with the third seat at approximately half price. Full fare details will be announced when the service goes on sale in late April.
The first arduous routes to offer travellers the Skycouch will be between Auckland and Los Angeles from December 2010 and Auckland and London from April 2011.
“For those who choose, the days of sitting in economy and yearning to lie down and sleep are gone,” said Air NZ Chief Executive, Rob Fyfe. “The dream is now a reality, one that you can even share with a travelling companion – just keep your clothes on, thanks.”
by Andy Moreton
For some while now, New Zealand has been a ‘must-see’ destination. Let Luxique help you choose from one of eight luxury hotels in New Zealand.
It’s been a rite of passage for countless student backpackers making their way around the world.
And this month, the bungee jump has been celebrating its 20th birthday in the country where it all started – New Zealand.
AJ Hackett and Henry Van Asch opened the first commercial jumping station in 1988. Twenty-eight thrill-seekers queued to pay for the chance to take a terrifying leap off the 140ft Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown with just a rubber cord tied round their ankles.
They turned out to be the first of several million people with a sense of adventure (and a head for heights) who would perform the modern version of an ancient manhood ritual from Vanuatu.
Bungee-jumping is now a global leisure phenomenon which, it’s estimated, has brought in NZ$ 1 billion (£386 million / $564 million) for the country’s economy. Tourism is New Zealand’s biggest foreign exchange earner and bungee jumping typifies the adventurous spirit that is one of its greatest attractions.
Couples have even been known to get married on the high platform before jumping off to celebrate.
Hackett, 50, and Van Asch, 45, celebrated their 20-year success story with a tandem jump from the same bridge where it all started. Hackett thought they’d still enjoy the thrill in another 20 years’ time – although he said they’d probably need to jump with Zimmer frames.
by Andy Moreton
Fast becoming one of the ‘must see’ destinations in the world and Luxique offers a choice of eight luxury hotels in New Zealand, including Millbrook Resort and The Spire in Queenstown.