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South Island tourism remains strong

South Island tourism remains strong

Christchurch International Airport Ltd (CIAL) has reported a 6.8% total increase in passenger numbers over the same quarter last year, alleviating concerns that the South Island's tourism industry is already suffering from the effects of the global economic crisis.

While international passenger numbers decreased by 3.9% over the quarter, domestic volumes were up by 11.2%. CIAL's General Manager Marketing & Business Development, Gareth Owen, believes that New Zealanders have as much inclination as ever to travel. "Increased competition in the market has resulted in regular low fares for domestic and trans-Tasman travel, and we are seeing the effects of that competition reflected in the volumes of passengers travelling. More New Zealanders than ever are using Christchurch Airport as their tourism gateway, for short breaks around the country or for a longer holiday across the Tasman", he says.

Mr Owen says CIAL is confident that the services currently operating from the airport are in a stable position, with growth on the horizon. "Many of our airline partners are currently in expansion mode, with excellent load factors and strong forward bookings", he says. "For example, Singapore Airlines are returning to a daily service in November, and Emirates will be increasing their capacity by 100 seats per day with the commissioning of their new 777-300 aircraft in February".

Christine Prince, Chief Executive of Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism, said it was encouraging to see the quarterly results holding firm. "As reflected in these figures domestic and Australian visitors are becoming increasingly important to the region, a position that is likely to continue until we see some recovery in the long-haul markets", she said. "Christchurch Airport is a key partner of ours, and they work closely with Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism to drive business by supporting marketing and advertising campaigns. Our region benefits enormously from the support of such a proactive airport."

The airport welcomed a record 1,472,300 passengers over the July - September quarter.


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