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Not surprising Chch voted second best in the world by NYT

Not surprising Christchurch voted second best in the world by the New York Times
January 19, 2014
A University of Canterbury (UC) tourism researcher says it is not surprising Christchurch has been voted the second best city to visit in the world by the New York Times.
Dr Girish Prayag says since the earthquakes various initiatives and projects have been launched to make Christchurch an attractive place, such as the innovation precinct, Te Papa Otakaro and the Performing Arts Precinct.
``We have entrepreneurs showcasing the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of the people and businesses of Christchurch.
``Coupled with the collaborative spirit of Cantabrians in general, the city has embarked on a development path that not only showcases resilience but also vibrancy, prosperity and accessibility.
``These are also criteria used to evaluate cities in general. Christchurch has become the city that symbolises hope, transformation, adaptation and revival and hence attracts attention from writers. The focus of such a top ranking is on the new and the positive about cities rather than what does not work in the rebirth of a city,’’ Dr Prayag says.
The New York Times praised Christchurch's ingenuity, and its entrepreneurs and volunteers, who are finding ways to make temporary use of empty spaces, bringing life back into the city. The influential daily newspaper came up with the list of 52 places to visit in 2014.
Dr Prayag says the international recognition gives credit to the efforts of all stakeholders in rebuilding the city, including volunteers.
``It contributes to the popularity of Christchurch as a tourist destination and creates awareness among potential investors that the city is on a growth path. This ranking may also influence new immigrants to NZ and businesses to start up in Christchurch.
``It may influence business confidence and public support for the various initiatives and projects in place.
``This is not the only list that Christchurch has been ranked among the best cities in the world. Last year, Lonely Planet put Christchurch at number six on its list of Top 10 Cities for 2013, describing the city as `rising from the rubble with a breath-taking mix of spirit, determination and flair’.
``Positive media attention such as this generates awareness and interest in places but may not necessarily convert into actual travel to the destination. For tourism, this contributes positively to the reputation of the city.
``It counteracts some of the negative media coverage post-quake that may have deterred people from visiting. It may attract international students wishing to pursue studies in NZ.
``The Gap Filler programme is absolutely brilliant. It injects innovation and creativity within the city that may be attractive to backpackers, independent travellers and volunteer tourists. It uses empty space as a palette for residents and others to express ideas and thoughts about the city,’’ Dr Prayag say


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