Re:Start Mall 'needs entertainment zone'
An entertainment zone should be added to the Re:Start Mall, the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) says.
Chief executive Martin Snedden said that before the earthquakes, tourism contributed $2.3 billion a year to Canterbury's economy.
Christchurch has lost more than one million guest nights since the February 2011 quake, while international guest nights had dropped by almost a million across the South Island.
Snedden said the tourism industry had identified some key projects that could boost the industry's recovery.
''The immediate need is for a central-city entertainment zone to complement the Re:Start Mall,'' he said.
''The mall has been highly successful at providing a central-city focus, but offering both international and domestic visitors a temporary restaurant and entertainment zone would give them a reason to stay in Christchurch and spend more while they are there.''
A lack of accommodation, particularly in the hotel and backpacker sectors, was also impeding the industry's recovery.
''It's vital that rebuilding of central-city accommodation takes place as quickly as possible and with a minimum of red tape.''
The announcement this week that tourism bus company Magic Bus was reintroducing Christchurch to its itineraries was a positive start, he said, but improving the city's entertainment and accommodation options would encourage more group tours to return.
Certainty on the location and timeline for rebuilding the Christchurch Convention Centre was essential, Snedden said.
This would give accommodation providers and conference planners confidence in the future of the valuable conference and convention sector, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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