first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Business and conference travellers have been urged to consider the Christchurch and Canterbury region for events, with several venues still operational and undamaged.While February’s quake has impacted venues and hotels in the city centre, properties outside the CBD are still capable of hosting large events, according to Christchurch & Canterbury Convention Bureau manager Leonie Ashford.“Conference and exhibition venues outside of the CBD, like CBS Canterbury Arena, Wigram Air Force Museum and Addington Events Centre have come through unscathed and are up and running as normal,” Ms Ashford said.  “That’s fantastic news because it means we can keep the ‘open for business’ sign out and continue to welcome conference groups to the city. “Fly-in, fly-out day conferencing options are already being considered to get around our shortage of hotel accommodation.”Ms Ashford added that properties such as the AMI Stadium which is set to re-open by February next year, are capable of holding up to 800 people while much of Christchurch’s shopping, dining and business district will reopen by October this year.While less than an hour’s drive from Christchurch International Airport locations such as Ashburton and Methven are available for conferences as well as Terrace Downs Resort in the high country and Hanmer Springs alpine resort, located 90 minutes from the airport.    “Christchurch & Canterbury is still a great destination for conference groups,” Ms Ashford added. “We may have to think a bit more inventively in some areas but we can still be great hosts and provide people with all the comforts they need to enjoy their stay.”Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter said while his confidence in the city’s position as a key player in business tourism has not dropped he has acknowledged that for the moment there are limitations. “Our ability to host large conferences will be very much be contingent on the restoration of hotel capacity in the central city,” Mr Hunter said.“Christchurch has always led the way in terms of business tourism in New Zealand and I’m confident it will do so again when our infrastructure, in particular our hotel capacity, is restored.”According to Mr Hunter business tourism contributes up to NZ$100 million per annum to the local economy and the city will continue to work hard to resurrect it. “We are determined to recover and rebuild and to create an even better, stronger, and more vibrant city centre.”last_img

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