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Prime Minister marks the reopening of Christchurch Gondola

Prime Minister John Key riding the gondola. Photo credit Jane Wyles.

19 April 2013 - Media Release

Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism marks the reopening of an iconic Christchurch visitor attraction.

Today Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism the Rt. Hon John Key attended the official reopening of the Christchurch Gondola. At the event this morning, he unveiled a commemorative plaque to remember those who lost their lives in the February 2011 earthquake.

The Gondola, one of Christchurch’s much loved attractions has been closed for two years following the devastating quakes. In this time the Gondola has undergone extensive renovations to modernise the facilities and ensure the hillside is safe from rock fall. Special guests at the official opening included Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker, MP for Port Hills Ruth Dyson, and Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism Chief Executive Tim Hunter.

“It’s a really important attraction for Christchurch. You have to have things that people want to go and do and neat experiences for them to want to have, and the Gondola is in such beautiful part of Canterbury. A great place to hold your breath and soak in the atmosphere. It’s a fabulous addition to tourism in the area. ”

A view shared by Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism’s Tim Hunter. “Tourism in Christchurch has been hit pretty hard in the last two years and the reopening of the Gondola is a significant recovery step that adds back another cornerstone visitor experience to the city’s major attractions,” said Mr Hunter.

Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism John Key and Welcome Aboard, Christchurch Gondola Managing Director Michael Esposito enjoying the view at the reopened Christchurch gondola summit building. Photo credit Jane Wyles.

The reopening will give locals and visitors another activity to participate in and an opportunity to take in the spectacular views of a dramatically changed city and its surrounding mountains and harbours.

The area and operation was water damaged by a burst sprinkler head as a result of the February 2011 earthquake. This caused 60,000 litres of water to flood the entire top station.

After spending $2 million on repairing and upgrading the facility, Managing Director Michael Esposito is excited to see such an integral part of Christchurch back up and running.

“I am delighted to see many peoples’ hard work over the last two years come to fruition. The Gondola is such an iconic attraction in Christchurch and to see it back up and running shows how Christchurch is on a strong path of recovery,” said Mr Esposito.

“I would like to thank the city of Christchurch, our annual pass holders and inbound tour operators for their tremendous support and encouragement while we worked to improve and re open,” he said.

The reopening sees new and improved refurbished gondola cable car pods that transport visitors from the base up to the crater rim of the Port Hills and Mt Cavendish summit. At the Mt Cavendish Summit Station there’s a new ‘Shop the Top’ retail experience and new access stairways. The summit’s café has re-opened as the Red Rock Café and welcomes a new chef and new menu. The function centre has also reopened and been renamed the Crater Rim Room and is available for weddings, functions and other events.

At the Summit Station, the Time Tunnel ride experience has a new video of Christchurch and Lyttelton’s geology, people, places and historical events including celebrating famous Cantabrians.

At the event certificates of appreciation were presented by the Christchurch Gondola to David MacDonald from AON NZ Limited and Matt Howard from Golder Associates .

Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism John Key and Welcome Aboard, Christchurch Gondola Managing Director Michael Esposito riding the gondola at the official gondola reopening. Photo credit Jane Wyles.


About Welcome Aboard:

Other businesses owned by Welcome Aboard include; Punting on the Avon, the Christchurch Tram, and Jet boating, Bungy Jumping, Quad Biking, and River Rafting at Hanmer Springs.

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