Promoting tourism post-devastation should only be considered once the gravity of the situation has been rationalised, Christchurch and Canterbury chief executive Tim Hunter has advised.
Speaking at the 2nd International Forum on the Integration of Tourism and Emergency Management Aerial in Sydney last week, Mr Hunter said gaining experience from last year’s Christchurch quake, one of the best moves the city made was to not immediately push tourists back to the region.
He said “fast tracking” the rebuilding process could only create further problems, but taking time out to digest the event, its gravity and its context allows for better planning.
“The first three months after the quake were really difficult,” Mr Hunter explained.
“We had a lot of aftershocks, water and waste services were compromised, businesses needed to relocate and then the rescue operations went for 10-14 days and over that period there was media coverage and that wasn’t going to attract people back any time soon.
“But the city was still in survival mode and it was not the appropriate time to tell people to come back.”
However, six months later was a “different scenario” with the red zone getting smaller, 90 percent of businesses successfully opening shop in a different location and water was drinkable.
“At that stage we thought, it’s okay for travellers to return,” he said.
“We got main activities operating normally.”
Having since launched the blue prints for the new Christchurch, Mr Hunter said the city’s return has been developed in six key projects that will Christchurch see re-imagined.
Although the city has returned to safer levels, with quakes getting smaller and moving out into the ocean, Mr Hunter said the city is still struggling with available rooms, operating 13 hotels from its previous 36.
He explained that over the next 12 months, five new hotels will open in the city, while more eateries are opening up across the region along with a new earthquake exhibition and an outdoor cinema that requires audiences to pedal electricity to the screen.
Also speaking at the 2nd International Forum on the Integration of Tourism and Emergency Management Aerial last week, Okinawa’s Tourism Marketing chief executive Masato Takamatsu revealed the region’s new plan to be one of the safest resort destinations in Japan.
Tuesday, 25 September 2012
Don’t fast-track tourism promotion post-disaster: Hunter
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J