Christchurch focuses on the future at CINZ MEETINGS 2016

10 June 2016

Christchurch is an exciting place to visit right now, with new attractions, accommodation and cultural icons opening every month, says Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Bureau.

Bureau manager Caroline Blanchfield says the city’s impressive new buildings and streetscapes are designed first and foremost with people in mind.

“More than $40 billion is now being ploughed into our future-focused, innovative small city, transforming it into a hub of smart precincts with world-class facilities. This is the largest economic undertaking in New Zealand’s history,” she says.

Christchurch offers a totally new destination, but one that still retains the features that always made it a top New Zealand conference destination.

“Outstanding architecture and urban landscaping is making Christchurch the envy of the world. We are using this opportunity to reimagine and reinvent urban living in a stunning location, bordered by alps, rivers and miles of beautiful coastline.”

The city’s state of the art new, boutique-style convention centre precinct is in its final planning stages.

New health and innovation precincts, performing arts venues and a metro sports facility are already underway. Office developments are bringing 15,000 people into the city centre over the next 12 months to work in safe, structurally innovative and stylish buildings.

The city’s new shopping and dining areas to open in late 2016 will have some of the world’s top retail brands alongside premium New Zealand boutique labels.

“Christchurch is set to be one of the most delightful retail therapy destinations in the world, with shopping in gorgeous laneways and beautiful riverside spots – all easy walking and just a stone’s throw from the new Convention Centre.”

Special care is being taken of the city’s character and it 19th century heritage too, says Caroline Blanchfield. “Restoration projects are gaining worldwide attention, like the Arts Centre which is soon to reopen as a creative hub showcasing one of the foremost collections of neo-Gothic heritage buildings in New Zealand.”

“Our city is buzzing with creative initiatives, drawing international attention to the city’s arts and culture offerings. Christchurch Art Gallery opened with more than 50,000 people through in the first two weeks, and the Centre for Contemporary Art (CoCA) has transformed into a leading space for new art.

Christchurch’s performing arts are being given major boost with a new Music Centre - The Piano - to open near the restored Isaac Theatre Royal. And the iconic Christchurch Town Hall is set for reopening in 2018.

“The city is making a name for itself as a stylish haven for foodies seeking out locally-sourced organic and raw food options, and the many cuisine styles on offer.”

Christchurch has always been known as the Garden City and our parks and gardens are as beautiful as ever. “New initiatives like a landmark $5 million urban garden project, Otakaro Orchard an edible park right in the city centre, are recreating the Garden City.”

The city is soon to become an international outdoor adventure hub, with the largest bike park in the Southern Hemisphere now being developed on the Port Hills - Christchurch Adventure Park -  set to open in late 2016.

The new $25 million facility includes picturesque mountain bike trails, restaurants, shops and purpose-built accommodation, with views across the city to the Southern Alps. It will be the world’s first downhill bike park to operate 365 days of the year, and the world’s first high speed chairlift for mountain bikers.

“Christchurch is so easy to access with dozens of daily international and domestic flights, and the airport is just 15 minutes from the city centre,” Caroline Blanchfield says.

“Our airport contributes three-quarters of South Island international arrivals, and is the New Zealand’s fastest growing entry point for Chinese visitors, with a 40 percent increase recorded in the past year.

More than $40 billion is now being ploughed into our future-focused, innovative small city, transforming it into a hub of smart precincts with world-class facilities. This is the largest economic undertaking in New Zealand’s history."

Caroline Blanchfield, Convention Bureau Manager

Christchurch Airport has seen 10 per cent growth in overall airline seats in the past year, to 7.9 million, provided by 10 commercial airlines flying more than 10,000 international flights per annum and connecting to key Asian and Australasian hubs that fly more than 200 million passengers. By December 2017, the airport will offer 264,000 rooms a year on the airport campus – a 200 per cent increase.

“Delegates want to come to Christchurch because we have not only a strong conference service industry, but also opportunities for expert areas of study. Christchurch is home to two world-class universities and international experts from a variety of specialist fields choose to live and work here.

“Our key sectors of expertise are specifically in earth sciences, health sciences, agriculture, international education and the technology and innovation sectors, especially in building technology and green initiatives.”

Right now the city and wider region can cater for everything from small executive meetings to large conferences and events.

“Christchurch has a variety of flexible meeting and event venues, from new hotel facilities, to multi-purpose sports and exhibition spaces, and unique venues ideal for themed events.”

The city has a variety of classic and unique conference venues already open. Venues like the Air Force Museum of New Zealand and Lincoln Events Centre both with a large flat floor space for 1100. The Isaac Theatre Royal with 1200 plenary capacity, which reopened late 2014.

“We are the international gateway to the coastal and alpine playgrounds of New Zealand’s South Island. You will find dramatic natural landscapes right on Christchurch’s doorstep, and the city is the perfect hub from which to embark on fantastic pre and post South Island touring experiences.”

The wider Canterbury region offers many options for pre and post touring, partner programmes and incentive travel. Everything from hot pools, spa treatments, wildlife viewing and night sky tours, to hot air ballooning, golf, scenic train journeys, 4WD tours and adrenalin based activities. 

In May 2016 Christchurch hosted two major international conferences with the space of three weeks. More than 1200 surveyors from all over world met in Christchurch for a five day working conference hosted by the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors. The Pacific Association of Quantity Surveyors brought a further 450 surveyors to Christchurch because of the unique learning environment the city offers.

Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Bureau is leading a large contingent to New Zealand’s national tradeshow CINZ MEETINGS 2016 in Auckland on 15 and 16 June.

“Before the event we hosting a group of top Australian buyers to a weekend showcase of the city and region,” says Caroline Blanchfield.

Joining the Bureau on the Canterbury regional stand are Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa, Heritage Hanmer Springs, Selwyn District, the Isaac Theatre Royal, Vbase, The Chateau on the Park, and the Christchurch Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Continental, Moveable Feasts and Red Travel will be exhibiting alongside the Canterbury regional stand, along with several of Christchurch’s key conference venues and event service providers represented by their national sales teams.