Tourism chief rejects blogger's advice
A travel blog labelling Christchurch one of 11 places "not to go to" in the world has prompted Mayor Bob Parker and tourism operators to hit back.
The Budget Travel blog featured on msnbc.com yesterday, and readers were advised to bypass Haiti, Libya and Christchurch.
"The 6.3 magnitude earthquake that shook Christchurch, New Zealand, in February 2011 claimed nearly 200 lives," the blog reads.
"The city has suffered serious damage, with blocked streets, collapsed apartment buildings, and structural damage to its famous cathedrals.
"To Go or Not to Go? Go, but only to pass through Christchurch on your way to other parts of New Zealand."
The blog warns of gang wars and kidnappings in Mexico, a "heavy-handed government" in Tunisia and shark attacks in Australia.
Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism board chairman Paul Bingham said the blogger, Bridget Gleeson, "clearly hasn't been to Christchurch lately".
"The reality isn't what is being portrayed," he said.
"Parts of the city have been affected. There are no trams and no Arts Centre, but we are still here.
"The glass is half full."
He thought the writer would have been based overseas and accessing information from websites without "real perspective of what's happening here on the ground".
Bingham conceded that the blog was accurate, but it was the job of tourist operators to "explain the other side".
"I admit Mother Nature has delivered us a challenge, but it is a challenge we will deal with," he said.
Parker was not surprised by the contents of the blog but said there was "a lot more to Christchurch than what it makes out".
"It is disappointing, but to be realistic, the quake was a major international event, so it's to be expected," Parker said.
He said the blog ignored the way the city was fighting back from the quakes.
- The Press