How are cultural tourism service providers surviving?
How are cultural tourism service providers surviving post-earthquakes?
August 26, 2013
A University of Canterbury (UC) marketing postgraduate student is investigating how heritage tourism in Christchurch can survive after a natural disaster which has substantially reduced the number of heritage features in the city.
Abanti Antara says the situation is critical for Christchurch’s heritage tourism and its providers. She will deliver a presentation on her research at the first New Zealand Tertiary Engagement summit at UC on Friday (August 30).
Her project aims to determine the impact of the earthquakes on heritage tourism, the post-quake representation of heritage tourism sites, features and activities, heritage preservation and strategic implementation of substitute tourism attractions.
``Data from local service providers is currently being collected. Recommendations drawn will assist local service providers to overcome the current heritage tourism gap. Other New Zealand destinations may benefit from the recommendations in case of similar incidents occurring. Current events demonstrate the relevance of such research.
``In recent years tourism has been one of the fastest growing sectors of the New Zealand economy and has become particularly important in some smaller communities. Some of the larger cities have high visitor numbers, and tourism is a reasonably significant part of their economy.
``In the past, the New Zealand tourism industry assumed that scenic beauty was the major attraction for tourists, rather than cultural views. But more recently, the industry has shown interest in promoting culture and heritage along with outdoor experience and action coordinated tourism services.
``One reason why people visit places is to see past history featuring in the present. Besides geographical attractions, visitors come to see and explore the symbols of local, regional or national identity. Tourism today has global branding featuring diverse landscapes, people, cultural and tourism activities as key concepts. This type of tourism is shaping New Zealand as a unique, entertaining and different destination.
``Christchurch lost much of these unique defining features after the earthquakes and the city is struggling with its cultural tourism during the period of rebuild.’’
Antara says culture and heritage are suddenly no longer part of the attraction for local and international visitors. Instead, the demolition of buildings and the vast empty spaces have now become one of the key features for tourists. The rebuild of Christchurch now features in views and promotion of heritage tourism.
Vincent Ilustre, executive director at Tulane University’s Centre for Public Service in New Orleans, will be the keynote speaker at UC’s summit on Friday.
The summit is part of a drive by UC to engage closely
with the community. Already more than 400 students have been
involved in UC’s CHCH101 course, launched after the 2010
and 2011 earthquakes, to build on the Student Volunteer
Army’s community engagement