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Christchurch nightlife continues to rise

Christchurch nightlife continues to rise, UC marketing expert says

July 30, 2013

Christchurch nightlife including restaurants, bars and cafes is already back to almost 80 percent of pre-earthquake levels, a University of Canterbury (UC) marketing expert says.

Latest figures show 794 restaurants and bars are now open in Christchurch, compared with just 566 restaurants operating as at January last year, UC’s Dr Sussie Morrish says.

``In the last 18 months we have seen 228 hospitality outlets reopen, relocate or start as new. There are 359 outlets that are closed or may not open again.

``It is great to see the hospitality industry getting back on its feet. There is demand for their services and market forces will continue to play, making room for new operators. It is a cliche that entrepreneurs are resilient but they do show that and of course play a very important role in the recovery process.

``Quality and value still play a significant part in this industry. It is no longer difficult to get a booking these days so diners are now able to choose from a number of restaurants. However, on any given day, it is not unusual to see one restaurant packed full while others on the same block hardly have any customers. Some get their mix right while others need to revisit their strategies.

``I am very impressed by astute entrepreneurs who are expanding and opening second and third premises. An alert entrepreneur will always spot an opportunity where others may feel discouraged and give up.

``The earthquakes have certainly encouraged new business models and while many will be looking at permanent structures, it will be great to see the creative genius of Christchurch entrepreneurs continue.

``What I understand from restaurant owners is that challenges still remain but there is optimism. Who would not want to be part of a multi-billion dollar recovery?

``Christchurch is seriously progressing forward now. There is a lot of goodwill. It is a very dynamic process.’’

The hospitality industry’s expansion is reflected in growth at UC where first year enrolments from outside of Christchurch have climbed eight percent this year.

The New Zealand employment market is fizzing and Christchurch saw advertised roles grow by 15 percent year-on-year, Trade Me says.

There are currently 2500 jobs in the Canterbury region advertised on www.seek.co.nz. A total of 115 jobs, or five percent, of the roles are advertised in hospitality and tourism, with strong demand for chefs, bar managers and waiters / waitresses.

Christchurch's Central City Business Association manager Paul Lonsdale says the growing night life in Christchurch is a promising sign the city is getting back on its feet.

``This growth will greatly assist in bringing young people back to Christchurch for ongoing education and also tourism as these sectors have been affected most since the earthquakes.’’


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