Christchurch set to host New Zealand’s top tourism innovators

Christchurch will host New Zealand’s first tourism-focused business accelerator.

The Lightning Lab Tourism, with principal sponsor Christchurch Airport, is challenging participants to find solutions for issues facing the tourism industry in New Zealand. The major issues under consideration are achieving visitor dispersal, creating value over volume and understanding visitors’ behaviour

The programme will run from May to August 2019 and will be delivered by Creative HQ.

ChristchurchNZ General Manager Destination and Attraction Loren Heaphy says the city seems the ideal place to host the accelerator.

“Christchurch has a highly innovative and connected tourism network – borne out of necessity following the earthquakes – which has now become a natural part of how we do business.

“Over the last eight years many operators had to really challenge how they work. They’ve had to come up with innovative ways to encourage visitors into the city and get them to stay longer and spend more.

“With more hospitality, entertainment and retail businesses established in the city it’s important to keep that spirit of collaboration and innovation alive.”

Loren Heaphy, General Manager Destination & Attraction, ChristchurchNZ

Brett Holland, General Manager of Enterprise Innovation at Creative HQ, says past programmes had led to “innovative new companies and industry led projects”.

“We’ve seen previous sector-based Lightning Lab programmes serve as innovation catalysts within their respective industries,” he says.

The three-month accelerator programme will be hosted at Christchurch Airport.

Chief Aeronautical and Commercial Officer Justin Watson says, as the gateway to the South Island, the Christchurch Airport is well placed to offer participants input from all 14 of the South Island regions.

“Participants will receive a warm welcome from us and have a huge amount of support from some of the country’s top tourism innovators, operators and experts.”

Justin Watson, Chief Aeronautical and Commercial Officer, Christchurch International Airport