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Acclaimed southern company invests in Christchurch tourism

Acclaimed southern company invests in Christchurch’s tourism growth

One of New Zealand’s leading tourism operators is about to add Christchurch’s International Antarctic Centre to its portfolio of successful tourism businesses.

On the 30th October 2015, Real Journeys will become the new owner and operator of the attraction, investing in Christchurch’s tourism growth and the city’s 100 year relationship with Antarctica.

“This sets the International Antarctic Centre up for future success, with Real Journeys looking at a multi-million dollar upgrade of the attraction,” says airport Chief Executive Malcolm Johns. “It will also see the attraction play a more significant role in connecting visitors to Christchurch with both our airport’s and our country’s long relationship with the Ice.

“Research tells us very clearly the Antarctic attraction in the middle of a working international Antarctic base gives visitors an experience other locations cannot replicate. Visitors to this centre can see operational personnel and aircraft from the US, New Zealand and Korea going about their daily Antarctic business. No other location can offer that level of authenticity to visitors and it’s important.”

Real Journeys is an award winning family owned tourism business that was established more than 60 years ago, with operations from Stewart Island to Queenstown, including world renowned cruises through Milford and Doubtful Sounds, the heritage steamship TSS Earnslaw and Cardrona Alpine Resort. It is widely regarded as a leader of the New Zealand tourism industry and has been named Operator of the Year by the Tourism Export Council more times than any other company.

Real Journeys Chief Executive Richard Lauder says the company is looking forward to adding another iconic New Zealand attraction to its portfolio. He says the timing is perfect, as tourism returns to Christchurch and the airport experiences strong international airline growth.

“Christchurch International Airport has done a lot of work improving tourism,” he says. “Using our expertise in operating quality visitor attractions, our market reach, and a little bit of love and investment, I think we’ll be able to move the International Antarctic Centre up to a new level and deliver a better experience, both to locals who enjoy the attraction and international visitors who are coming here in greater and increasing numbers.”

Mr Lauder says all staff are being retained on a business as usual basis. Mr Lauder and Real Journeys Chairman Roger Wilson met with staff at the centre this morning, after they were informed about the change of ownership.

Christchurch Airport Chief Executive Malcolm Johns says seeing Real Journeys invest in the future of Canterbury tourism is very positive news for the industry here.

“The sale shows real confidence in this city’s future, as well as the growth of passenger numbers through the airport and our decades-long relationship with Antarctica,” he says. “Real Journeys has a proven successful track record of offering visitors a high quality experience. They will operate and continue to invest in the attraction and will provide an experience we can all be proud of.

“The company has particularly strong links with the Chinese and Asian markets and since this airport is New Zealand’s fastest growing entry point for Chinese visitors, it makes sense to take advantage of that expertise.

“The airport company took the attraction over three years ago post-quakes and the time is right to pass the baton to an expert in this area who can take it to the next level. Real Journeys will bring to this business a set of skills and experience which will set it up for success.”

ENDS

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